Department of Education Emphasizing Importance of Mental Health and Well-being

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HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is emphasizing the importance of mental health and well-being and reminding school communities about the availability of associated resources, especially as end-of-school-year activities take place and summer approaches.

Governor Tom Wolf is committed to providing Pennsylvania residents access to quality mental health services. Last year, the administration launched Reach Out PA: Your Mental Health Matters, a multi-agency initiative aimed at ending the stigma behind mental health and expanding access to comprehensive support services throughout the Commonwealth.

“Our school communities have done remarkable work creating and maintaining safe, supportive spaces for students to learn and grow throughout the pandemic” said Dr. Dana Milakovic, Mental Health/Alcohol and Other Drug Specialist. “With the school year ending soon and changes to daily routines beginning to take place, it’s important to remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. In addition, you’re not alone – there are many different factors that can contribute to stressors, but there are also many different resources available to help you cope properly and support your social and emotional health.”

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PDE offers a collection of resources and supports on its website on topics that include mental healthsocial-emotional wellnessself-caregrief and loss, and equity and inclusion, among other topics. In addition, PDE’s website provides contact information for various state and national support services that can offer help 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

The National Institute of Mental Health has information on its website to inform individuals on best mental health practices and strategies. The National Suicide Prevention LifelineOpens In A New Window (1-800-273-8255) offers free and confidential support 24/7 for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources, and best practices for professionals.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline (1-800-662-4357) also offers free, confidential, 24/7 national treatment referral and information for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

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As part of a larger roadmap for school leaders and communities, PDE developed a Staff and Student Wellness Guide that offers resources to consider when determining methods of communication with stakeholders, universal practices to address social and emotional needs and to create safe, welcoming and equitable learning environments, and conditions for monitoring and supporting identified staff and students demonstrating needs related to social-emotional and psychological supports.

For more information about Pennsylvania’s education policies and programs please visit the Department of Education’s website.

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