Philadelphians are impacted to the core of our being, like the rest of the world, by the compilation of traumatic events experienced over the past several months. From the ongoing uncertainty and isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic to the justified anger over the murders of George Floyd and many others that has gripped the nation to the violent upheaval and feelings of helplessness that have overtaken many at this time.
We all are experiencing some degree of trauma. Moreover, not knowing when we may become overwhelmed by the anxiety and stress that these overlapping circumstances have created—when will it end?
But the City of Philadelphia stands ready to help those seeking support at this time.
We at the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) understand people who experience traumatic events have an increased risk of developing a range of behavioral health challenges.
DBHIDS takes an approach to trauma that builds on resiliency, expands protective factors, takes into account people’s overall wellness, uses a population health approach, and incorporates evidence-based practices to decrease the impact of trauma.
We fund innovative programs to connect community members with behavioral health information and reduce stigma. Free quick and anonymous behavioral health screenings are a component of Healthy Minds Philly, a DBHIDS public health strategy to extend services while providing links to valuable resources. The online screenings help identify signs and symptoms of behavioral health challenges. If more immediate help is needed, our Mental Health Hotline at 215-685-6440 is staffed 24 hours per day.
In order to make access to services even easier during this difficult time, DBHIDS partnered with Independence Blue Cross and others to develop and promote mindPHLtogether.com. The website and media campaign began as part of Mental Health Awareness Month in May but will continue to operate.
The campaign works to reduce the stigma attached to seeking mental health care while also making it as easy as possible for residents to access the numerous resources readily available to them.
In addition to these broadly available resources for all, I urge residents who can to explore options made available by their jobs and their own medical insurance, such as Employee Assistance Programs, telephonic assistance, group meetings, and more.
DBHIDS is here to support all Philadelphians as we cope through this traumatic period. We stand in solidarity with those directly impacted daily by systemic racism. I encourage those who are not directly impacted to offer allyship, agency, and support to those who need assistance through this challenging time. We can — and will — get through this together. Remember you can always call 1-888-545-2600 to request treatment for mental health and/or addictions concerns. You are not alone, we are here to support you.
Be well, Philadelphia.
David T. Jones, Commissioner
City of Philadelphia
Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services