Pa Department of Health: Mental Health Resources Available Online for Students | Education

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Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, student suicide rates have skyrocketed – likely due to the massive lifestyle changes brought on by the pandemic.

According to NBC News, emergency room visits increased by 22.3% for potential suicides in children between 12 and 17 years of age in the summer of 2020 compared to 2019, according to results published in the CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”.

To support the mental and emotional health and well-being of students and educators across the Commonwealth, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has said it wants to reiterate the availability of online resources now that the season holidays are approaching, when many people may find themselves in a more fragile state of mind.

“The Wolf administration is committed to preserving and promoting the health of the whole student, which includes mental health, behavioral health and emotional health as well as physical health,” the secretary told Education, Dr. Noe Ortega.

According to a press release from the ministry, PDE offers a set of resources and materials on its website on topics that include Mental Health, socio-emotional well-being, self-care, mourning and loss, equity and inclusion, dealing with the emotions of your youth when you are stressed, and family resources among other topics.

As part of a broader roadmap for school leaders and communities, PDE has developed a Staff and student well-being guide to communicate with stakeholders and select universal practices to assess, monitor and support the social and emotional needs of staff and students.

Mental health is as important as physical health, according to PDE, and that’s why they prioritize it. The health ministry stressed that this time of year can be particularly stressful for high school students, students returning from college, and children and families isolated due to weather or illness.

“Feelings of loneliness have been shown to have a negative impact on the mental well-being of adults and our young people and this has recently been highlighted. With most students returning to classrooms, we have seen a natural decrease in loneliness as students reconnect with their peers and educators. Schools do an admirable job of promoting this connection, ”said Dr. Dana Milakovic, mental wellness and trauma expert at the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

“As we enter the holiday season, it is important to be aware that our staff, students and families may have experienced loss or increased stress over the past year, which will impact the sense of well-being and can trigger feelings of isolation while on vacation. school breaks. At a time of year when mental health needs are increasing, it is important to recognize that not only is it okay to ask for help, but there are resources available to you, even during the holidays, ”added Milakovic.

Last year, the Wolf administration launched Reach Out PA: Your Mental Health Matters, a multi-agency initiative to end the stigma behind mental health and expand access to comprehensive support services across the Commonwealth.

“We encourage schools and communities to use the helpful resources available to them and, most importantly, to talk to a trusted adult or peer if they have mental health issues,” Ortega said.

In addition to these resources, there are various state and national support services that can offer 24/7 help.

The The National Institute of Mental Health has information on its website educate individuals on best mental health practices and strategies. The National lifeline for suicide prevention (1-800-273-8255) offers free and confidential 24/7 support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources, and best practices for professionals.

The Addiction and Mental Health Administration National Helpline (1-800-662-4357) also offers a free, confidential, 24/7 national treatment referral and information for individuals and families experiencing mental and / or health related disorders. substance use.

The Trevor project (1-866-488-7386) is a national, confidential, 24/7 suicide prevention and crisis intervention lifeline for LGBTQIA youth aged 25 and under.

The trans lifeline (1-877-565-8860) is a nationwide confidential crisis response hotline managed by the trans community that helps trans people through emotional and financial support.

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