Pennsylvania: Suicide Prevention and Mental Health

Mental Health

Today, leadership from multiple state agencies joined advocates from Prevent Suicide PA to recognize September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and raise awareness around work to embed suicide prevention efforts across systems.

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“So many Pennsylvanians of all ages, backgrounds, and identities live with mental health issues or experience times of personal crisis that leave them feeling isolated, alone, and hesitant to seek help for a variety of reasons. These are real people – our friends, neighbors, acquaintances and ourselves,” said Human Services Deputy Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Kristen Houser. “We’re here today to tell you that you are not alone, and no matter what it is you are facing, your experiences are valid, and you do not have to carry the weight of these situations by yourself. Free, caring, and confidential help is available, and using these resources can save lives.”

Mental Health Challenges

Approximately 1.2 million adults attempt suicide annually in the United States, with more than 85 percent reporting having made a suicide plan prior to their attempt. In 2020, the most recent year that data is available, approximately 1,700 people died by Suicide in Pennsylvania. Throughout September, we remember and honor those lost to suicide, and support loss and suicide attempt survivors and all who experience suicidal ideation, mental health challenges, and crisis every day.

Mental health challenges or times of crisis can affect anyone at any time. All Pennsylvanians should take extra care to be mindful of their mental health and tend to their overall health and wellness as often as possible. Do a self-check-in, be honest about how you are feeling to yourself and your support network, and if you need someone to talk to or a little extra support, help is available.

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 Suicide Prevention Task Force

In 2019, the Wolf Administration announced the formation of a statewide Suicide Prevention Task Force comprised of leadership from Prevent Suicide PA, members of the General Assembly, and representatives from more than 10 state agencies covering health and human services, public safety, education, and veteran’s affairs, among others. Because suicide is so far-reaching, this diverse array of subject matters and expertise is necessary to build a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary awareness and focus on embedding suicide prevention wherever possible.

Pennsylvanians Support

  • Crisis Text Line: Text “PA” to 741-741 
  • Veteran Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) 
  • Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 
  • Get Help Now Hotline (for substance use disorders): 1-800-662-4357 
  • Pennsylvania Sexual Assault Helpline: 1-888-772-7227 or https://pcar.org/help-in-pa 
  • National Domestic Violence Helpline: 1-800-799-7233 or www.PCADV.org  
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