FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 3, 2017
Department of Human Services Hosts Mental Health Awareness Fair
Governor Tom Wolf proclaimed May Mental Health Awareness Month
Harrisburg, PA – Today, the Department of Human Services (DHS) in collaboration with PA System of Care Partnership, PA Healthy Transitions Partnership, and Youth M.O.V.E. PA, hosted the 2017 Mental Health Awareness Fair in Harrisburg to raise awareness and understanding of mental illness and substance use disorders. Governor Tom Wolf has proclaimed May Mental Health Awareness Month.
“Mental illness and substance use disorders affect Pennsylvanians from all walks of life. Only about half of those people, however, seek treatment,” said DHS Secretary Ted Dallas. “The department is committed to increasing awareness and providing quality care to these individuals so that all Pennsylvanians who need help can get it.”
Representative Mike Schlossberg (D-Lehigh) joined the event to speak about the challenges he has seen in trying to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.
“No person with mental illness should ever feel alone,” said Representative Schlossberg. “Events like these are more important than ever because we have to make sure that everyone who suffers from mental illness has the chance to obtain treatment and live healthy, productive, and happy lives.”
To help individuals gain access to treatment, DHS was recently awarded a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) demonstration grant by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. CCBHCs will enhance access to behavioral health services for Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries, help individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders obtain the health care they need, allow individuals to have access to a wide array of services at one location, and remove the barriers that too often exist across physical and behavioral health systems. CCBHCs are a step closer to ending the stigma associated with mental illness.
Each mental illness has its own set of symptoms but some common signs of mental illness can include the following:
- Excessive worrying or fear
- Feeling excessively sad or low
- Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
- Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
- Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
- Avoiding friends and social activities
- Difficulties in understanding or relating to other people
- Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired or experiencing low energy
- Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
- Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don’t exist in objective reality)
- Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior, or personality
- Abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
- Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
- Thinking about suicide
- Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
- Intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance (mostly in adolescents)
For more information on how to access mental health services, click here.
MEDIA CONTACT: Rachel Kostelac, 717-425-7606