First Lady Frances Wolf hosts virtual conversation addressing mental health, trauma and equity during COVID-19

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(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

First Lady Frances Wolf addressed mental health, trauma, and equity during COVID-19 Thursday in a virtual conversation hosted on Facebook. This was the third conversation in a series titled, “The Bigger Picture,” an extension of One Lens: Sharing Our Common Views that hones in on various aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, connecting this extraordinary moment to the broader community.  

The full conversation can be found on the One Lens Facebook page.

“Challenges in mental health, trauma, and equity existed long before COVID-19 struck Pennsylvania, but the pandemic has made these issues more obvious,” said First Lady Wolf. “Isolation, job loss, and death continue to characterize this time, and coupled with systemic racism and discrimination, the amount of trauma people are experiencing is unbelievable. This is a conversation that has been had time and time again, but we must keep bringing these issues to the forefront until there’s real change.”

Conversation panelists included Kristen Houser, Deputy Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services; Porcha Johnson, CEO and Founder of Black Girl Health and Executive Director of Black Girl Health Foundation; Dan Jurman, Executive Director of Governor Wolf’s Office of Advocacy and Reform; and, David Saunders, Director of the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Office of Health Equity. They all shed light on how matters of mental health, trauma, and equity have been amplified during the pandemic.  

In times of mental health crisis, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text PA to 741741 to be connected to the Crisis Text Line. If you need mental and emotional support or information about local resources, call the Persevere PA Helpline at 855-284-2494. For TTY, dial 724-631-5600. For help finding addiction treatment, please call 1-800-662-HELP or text 717-216-0905 to be connected via chat.

The Mental Health Resources guide also helps individuals find supports that work for them.

One Lens: Sharing Our Common Views is a statewide virtual photo exhibit organized by the First Lady’s Office in partnership with PHMC, the PA Council on the Arts, and the PA Tourism Office. It celebrates the hard work and commitment of all Pennsylvanians as we continue our fight against COVID-19. The exhibit is now accepting submissions and will remain open through Monday, March 8, 2021. The full exhibit will be released on Friday, March 19, 2021. More information about One Lens can be found on the website.

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