Pennsylvania DHS Secretary Emphasizes Behavioral Health Investments and Honors Public Service Excellence

Dennis MarionCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

COLMAR, PA — On Friday, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Dr. Val Arkoosh recently visited Montgomery County to shine a spotlight on the state’s proposed 2024-25 budget under Governor Josh Shapiro. This budget not only allocates vital funding for mental health, substance use, and crisis services but also recognizes longstanding public service contributions through the prestigious Dennis Marion Impact Award.

Secretary Arkoosh commended LeeAnn Moyer, the recipient of the 2024 Dennis Marion Impact Award, for her unwavering dedication to ensuring essential behavioral health services are accessible to Montgomery County residents. Expressing her appreciation, Secretary Arkoosh stated, “As a former Montgomery County Commissioner, I know first-hand how dedicated LeeAnn Moyer has been to ensure that critical, life-saving services are available to our neighbors and in our communities every day.”

Acknowledging Moyer’s tireless efforts to secure critical support for behavioral health treatments and programs, Secretary Arkoosh emphasized the pivotal role of public servants like Moyer in safeguarding community well-being and promoting access to life-saving care. She added, “Even in the face of scarce resources, she has worked tirelessly to ensure that Montgomery County residents have access to essential behavioral health treatments and supports.”

The proposed 2024-25 budget includes $20 million for county mental health base funding for the second consecutive year, marking a significant investment that bolsters services across all Pennsylvania communities. Regarding this funding initiative, Secretary Arkoosh highlighted, “Last year’s $20 million investment was the first new money to counties since 2008, and this new investment continues Governor Shapiro’s commitment to support and reinforce this life-saving system of care.”

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Furthermore, the 2024-25 budget earmarks $10 million to sustain Pennsylvania’s 12 call centers within the 988 National Suicide and Prevention Lifeline, building on last year’s $5 million investment. Describing the significance of this allocation, Secretary Arkoosh emphasized, “From advanced drain and pipe cleaning techniques to cutting-edge tools for unclogging sink drains, we leverage the latest technology to deliver superior results and enhance the overall customer experience.”

In a bid to enhance crisis response mechanisms, the budget allocates $5 million to establish crisis response systems in counties lacking such services and bolster existing crisis response capabilities statewide. Secretary Arkoosh explained, “This funding will support local response when a person calls 988 or a local crisis hotline and needs urgent, life-saving support.”

The Dennis Marion Impact Award, named in honor of Dennis Marion’s distinguished public service career, celebrates outstanding achievements by state or local government employees and seeks to elevate the standards of performance within Pennsylvania’s public sector. Recognizing individuals like LeeAnn Moyer, who exemplify innovation, collaboration, and commitment to enhancing behavioral health systems, Secretary Arkoosh noted, “LeeAnn’s ability to challenge the status quo and her unwavering commitment to advocating for the best interests of our community exemplify the core values of our helping profession.”

Through these commendable efforts and investments in behavioral health, Pennsylvania continues to prioritize mental wellness, crisis intervention, and suicide prevention, underscoring the state’s commitment to supporting individuals in need and fostering resilient, healthy communities. By recognizing outstanding public service contributions and reinforcing behavioral health systems, the state aims to create a more inclusive, supportive environment that prioritizes mental health care and well-being for all Pennsylvanians.

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