Gov. Wolf: Mental Health Support is Vital and Available Amid Strain of COVID-19 Pandemic

first_imgGov. Wolf: Mental Health Support is Vital and Available Amid Strain of COVID-19 Pandemic SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Healthcare,  Human Services,  Press Release,  Public Health Governor Tom Wolf has made mental health access a priority during his tenure, in January introducing Reach Out PA: Your Mental Health Matters, an initiative to remove barriers to mental health care and reduce stigma. Today at a daily briefing on the commonwealth’s work to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the governor highlighted that the need for accessible mental health services is greater than ever.“We’re all in this fight against COVID-19 together and, as I’ve said many times, we all have a part to play,” Gov. Wolf said. “To be the strongest we can be in our efforts to ward off COVID-19, we need to ensure we are taking care of our mental health. So, please, if you need assistance, reach out.”It’s not unusual for people to feel anxious, alone and frightened, and for some, those feelings may be surfacing for the first time during this pandemic. The Wolf Administration today conveyed that it’s imperative for people to know where to turn for mental health needs.A 2017 study from the University of Southern California indicated that approximately 1 million adult Pennsylvanians struggled with serious psychological distress at least once in 2015. Of those adults, more than 27 percent had an unmet need for mental health care. That population includes 42 percent who did not receive mental health care because they could not afford it.According to a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly half (45%) of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over COVID-19 with the burden likely to continue even as the pandemic’s threat diminishes.Mitigation efforts are necessary to saves lives, but are accompanied by difficulties that strain mental health, among them, job loss, social isolation, and a general sense of uncertainty.As unemployment compensation claims surpass 1.6 million, the commonwealth has taken steps to help to improve customer service and push out nearly $2.5 billion in claim payments to date. Additional staff from other agencies, new hires and the help of an automated virtual phone assistant have all been deployed to get people answers more quickly, process claims, and work to lessen one significant contributor to stress.Where lack of access to food is also a major stress point, Pennsylvanians can apply for SNAP and other helpful programs online at www.compass.state.pa.us or for immediate food assistance, Feeding Pennsylvania at www.feedingpa.org and Hunger-Free Pennsylvania at www.hungerfreepa.org are hubs of information for where people can get assistance in their communities. Also, Pennsylvanians who have found themselves food insecure as a result of COVID-19 can apply here for state and federal food assistance programs.With plans for statewide, regional Reach Out PA roundtables on hold due to social distancing and stay-at-home orders, the governor is reminding people that there are myriad resources, many free, and some focused specifically on COVID-related mental health needs.Available online resources:Pennsylvania’s comprehensive mental health resources, Mental Health in PA.Mental Health America for general information and COVID-19-specific resources.Get Help Now for substance use disorder and alcohol treatment.Helpful phone numbers:National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)(As Dr. Levine provides in her daily briefings): The Crisis Text Line: Text “PA” to 741-741Veteran Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990Get Help Now for substance use disorder and alcohol treatment: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)For the latest information for individuals, families, businesses and schools, visit “Responding to COVID-19” on pa.gov.View this information in Spanish.center_img April 24, 2020last_img read more

Freshmen contribute under radar

first_imgFreshman defenseman Jake Gardiner is one of three impact first-year players for Eaves\’ squad.[/media-credit]Youth can often be both a blessing and a curse.From starting the season 0-6-1 to finishing the first semester with a 12-9-3 record, streakiness has been a major theme this season for the men’s hockey team. And what group is streakier than freshmen in college athletics?“They have all shown flashes,” head coach Mike Eaves said. “We have seen great things from every one of them, and we have also seen mistakes that freshmen are prone to make.”Although the statistics from this year’s freshmen class don’t jump off the page, one quality seems to define this group more than any other.“They work their butts off,” junior captain Blake Geoffrion said. “All of them have bought in, and you can see it on and off the ice. Jake, [Stepan], Thurber, I mean just all of them fit in with this team. Even when they aren’t in the lineup, they are still working hard.”Unlike last year’s freshmen — highlighted by No. 3 overall draft pick Kyle Turris — no one player this year has established himself above the rest of his teammates. With the team ranked second in the WCHA, however, that might not be such a bad thing.“They kind of fit our whole team,” Geoffrion said. “We don’t have that one dominant scorer, and though a player like Turris is always good, I would rather have tough players than flashy.”“On our team, there is very little difference between our first and our fourth line,” Eaves added. “The freshmen are like that too. Each player brings something to the table, and they have been scoring and contributing like that all season long.”Lately, freshmen forward Derek Stepan has led the Badgers’ most recent class. With nine points in his last six games, Stepan is second only to Jamie McBain for the team lead in points.“I think it just has to do with confidence, and connecting with my linemates,” Stepan said. “The more you play on your line, the more comfortable you become, and lately, you know, it has worked out for me.”According to Stepan, the biggest challenge for the freshmen has been adjusting to the physicality and the speed of the WCHA.“Everything is so much faster,” Stepan said. “You can be playing anyone from 18 to 24 years old, and they have played this way for a couple years. Coach has talked about how over the off season we will need to work on getting stronger.”When asked about the possibility for some of the freshmen hitting the “rookie wall,” both Eaves and Geoffrion dismissed the possibility.“No, that has not been my experience,” Eaves said. “If anything, they get stronger as the season progresses because they are so excited to be playing hockey, and they are learning the game more and more.”“Hockey is different than other sports in that respect,” Geoffrion said. “These guys are all conditioned and coach knows how hard to push us in practice, so wearing down or hitting a wall shouldn’t be a problem.”Although Geoffrion said he was happy with the freshmen’s contributions in the first semester, he is even more excited for what they are capable of in the second semester.“Experience is the biggest thing for improving,” Geoffrion said. “In the beginning you aren’t always sure of where you should be or what you should be doing. But you just keep learning, and that is how they get better.”For Stepan, learning from the upperclassmen is the biggest way to improve.“The older leaders on this team have been great,” Stepan said. “As long as we work with them, we can continue to have success. Hopefully, the freshmen can just continue to contribute and help this team get better and better.”last_img read more