Pennsylvania Female Legislators Pen Letters to Their Younger Selves in a Push for Mental Health Awareness

Portrait Project

HARRISBURG, PA — In a poignant gesture for Women’s Mental Health Week, the 37 women of the PA House Democratic Caucus have embarked on a unique initiative, writing letters to their younger selves. These letters, infused with personal insights on encouragement, resilience, and self-care, form part of an online gallery that pairs each message with the portrait of its author. The project serves not only as a testament to the inner strength of these legislators but also as a broader call for mental health awareness and empathy.

The lawmakers’ letters shed light on the myriad challenges women face, from professional hurdles and household responsibilities to societal pressures exacerbated by unrealistic portrayals in social and mass media. By sharing lessons they wish they had known earlier, the legislators aim to foster a sense of solidarity and understanding across Pennsylvania, reminding citizens that mental health struggles are universal and acknowledging the importance of compassion and support in overcoming them.

In recognizing May as Mental Health Awareness Month, this initiative emphasizes the urgency of addressing mental well-being with the same seriousness as physical health. “Mental health is health,” one legislator noted, highlighting the often-overlooked parity between mental and physical health care needs.

Beyond the personal reflections, the campaign builds on a legislative agenda advocating for policies that would directly benefit women and families—equal pay, family leave, improved childcare, and a safer environment for all, irrespective of identity or background. This dual approach not only raises awareness about mental health but also connects the dots between policy and personal well-being.

The representatives hope to extend the conversation beyond the halls of the legislature, inviting women throughout their communities to contribute their voices to the campaign. By encouraging individuals to share their own letters and selfies on social media with the hashtag #YoungerSelf, the initiative aims to create a widespread, grassroots movement in support of mental health awareness.

This blend of personal storytelling and public advocacy mirrors a growing recognition of the need for comprehensive health policies that consider the holistic well-being of individuals. Through their vulnerability and leadership, these Pennsylvania lawmakers exemplify how personal experiences can fuel meaningful change, offering a powerful reminder of the collective action required to break down stigmas and build a more inclusive, supportive society.

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