Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf and members of his Administration in the Capitol Rotunda on Friday, shared resources and advice for individuals and families affected by mental health and substance use disorders (SUD) to stay safe and healthy during the holiday season.
“This time of year is hard for many people and for varying reasons. During this holiday season, I urge all Pennsylvanians to be kind to one another and offer support to individuals battling SUD,” said Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) Secretary Jennifer Smith. “In doing so, we can give individuals the courage to seek the help and resources they need and so desperately deserve. Whether you are in recovery, seeking treatment for the first time, or need information on how you can help or support a loved one’s journey, there are resources available throughout the holiday season.”
The DDAP toll-free helpline is available 24/7, including holidays, at 1-800-662-HELP (4357), or online at www.ddap.pa.gov. It connects callers looking for treatment options for themselves or a loved one to resources in their community.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five American adults suffers from a mental illness, including 64 percent saying they were affected by the holiday blues. Holiday blues can include extra stress, sentimental memories, or unrealistic expectations during the holiday season.
“The holidays can be a joyous time filled with families gathering together, celebrating, and sharing meals and special traditions. But with those responsibilities come added stress, so it is important to make time for yourself and take a break,” said Department of Human Services Secretary Miller. “If your feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression get to be too overwhelming, though, know that you are not alone. There is nothing wrong with seeking help when it is needed, and help and resources are always available.”
If you or a loved one are in crisis, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 or the Crisis Text Line by texting “PA” to 741-741. On-hand, trained counselors will offer free, confidential support.
Family members who are taking care of children who lost parents or whose parents are dealing with the effects of the opioid epidemic can contact the KinConnector helpline at 1-866-KIN-2111 (1-866-546-2111). The helpline is staffed by compassionate, knowledgeable social service professionals prepared to help families locate, understand, and access resources that may be able to help them during the holiday season known as Kinship Navigators.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the most dangerous time of the year for substance use and alcohol related deaths are around the holiday months. The Wolf Administration encourages all Pennsylvanians to take advantage of the standing order to obtain Naloxone over the holidays.
“Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can reverse the effects of an overdose,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Over the last year, we have held two successful naloxone distributions providing free naloxone kits to more than 14,000 Pennsylvanians. That means 14,000 lives can be potentially saved. We know that Pennsylvanians are dedicated to helping to save lives of not only their loved ones, but also anyone who has overdosed. The administration will continue to help individuals suffering from substance use disorder, because every life is worth saving, treatment works and recovery is possible.”
For more information on treatment options in Pennsylvania, county-based resources, and the Wolf Administration’s efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, visit www.pa.gov/opioid.