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Governor Outlines Effort To Bolster Mental Health Services

Patrick Doyle
90.5 WESA

A broad effort to improve mental health services and change public perceptions of mental illness was announced Thursday by Pennsylvania' governor.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is rolling out an initiative that includes more resources and a public outreach campaign similar to an approach the state has deployed in response to the opioid crisis.

“For those struggling with their mental health, we have one message: your mental health matters and it's OK to reach out for help,” Wolf said in a statement released ahead of a news conference on the topic later Thursday.

He said that “reaching out for help — or to help — can make a huge difference for someone struggling.”

The campaign, “Reach Out PA: Your Mental Health Matters,” includes developing new health insurance coverage state regulations, coordinating services for physical and behavioral health, analyzing pay and other factors for those who provide mental health services and finding ways to get more social workers into schools.

Wolf will host a public discussion about mental illness Friday at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, part of an attempt to reduce the stigma that can be a barrier to mental health treatment.

Other aspects of the program include training more state workers in suicide prevention, assessing Department of Military and Veterans Affairs resources regarding post-traumatic stress disorder and self-harm, and widening Aging Department information and training about dementia.