Pennsylvania Education Department Launches Phone Line for Pep Talks and Encouragement

You’ve Got a Friend in Pennsylvania,Submitted Image

PENNSYLVANIA — The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has introduced “You’ve Got a Friend in Pennsylvania,” an automated phone line designed to deliver pep talks, jokes, and words of encouragement from students across the state.

Secretary of Education Dr. Khalid N. Mumin unveiled the initiative, saying it was developed to spread cheer, promote resilience, and encourage self-care, especially during the holiday season, which can often be a challenging time for mental health.

Callers can dial (717) 772-4737 to access advice, encouragement, and jokes recorded by students ranging from early elementary to high school. The fully automated phone line does not share the name, school, or location of the child featured on the recording, ensuring anonymity and privacy.

This initiative comes at a crucial time as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that 64 percent of people with a mental illness say their conditions worsen around the holidays due to stress, loneliness, financial worries, shortened daylight hours, or increased substance use.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recommends several strategies for maintaining mental health during this period. These include paying attention to feelings, developing a plan for dealing with stress, sadness, or loneliness, practicing self-care, connecting with community, supporting others, recognizing seasonal mood changes, avoiding alcohol and drugs, and knowing when to seek help.

For immediate support, individuals are encouraged to contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988.

“You’ve Got a Friend in Pennsylvania” represents a unique approach to promoting mental health and well-being, offering all Pennsylvanians a chance to hear a friendly voice just when they might need it the most.

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