From Kristen Houser, Deputy Secretary, DHS/Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services:
I am writing to request your participation to inform the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services at the PA Department of Human Services of the values and desired outcomes and objectives that you would like to see reflected in a crisis behavioral health response system of services.
On July 16, 2022, the new, easy to remember, three-digit phone number to reach the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline will become active. People experiencing mental health-related distress – whether that is thoughts of suicide, a mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress – will be able to call 9-8-8 to be connected to trained staff at a National Lifeline Crisis Call Center for immediate support and referrals to appropriate local resources, including mobile response teams or first responders such as law enforcement or EMS if needed.
We know that communities across Pennsylvania have access to very different local resources to help them during a mental health-related crisis, and the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services at the PA Department of Human Services is about to embark on a multi-year plan to work with counties to enhance and expand the availability of mobile crisis response teams. Included in the plans for a full continuum of crisis intervention services is access to walk-in and crisis respite centers.
As a first step, we are reaching out to individuals across multiple disciplines to request input to ensure the values and desired outcomes and objectives we utilize to build these services is informed by stakeholders from across the Commonwealth.
Please take a few minutes to answer the questions within by July 8. The short survey should take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.