If you or a member of your family had a mental health emergency, do you know what to do?
Do you know where your local crisis center is?
Do you know who to call if you see someone in crisis?
Do you know how to support a family member who tells you they are thinking about ending their life?
Can you read the signs that someone needs support even if they don’t tell you?
In 2020, 21 percent of all Americans had any mental illness, but in the same year less than half (46.2%) of those individuals received mental health services (SAMHSA, 2021).
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness month and a perfect opportunity to raise awareness of mental health resources and how to access them. Let’s review some of the resources available:
HealthyMindsPhilly: This website is run by DBHIdS and contains an extensive list of national and local resources. It can connect you to crisis services, but focuses on being a hub for wellness and mental health advocacy. You can find blogs, public trainings, and access to support groups such as our Survivors of Suicide Loss group held four times a month for those with lived experience. HealthyMindsPhilly also has a section dedicated to substance use and addiction.
988/Philadelphia Crisis Line: 988 is the new phone number for the Philadelphia Crisis Line. 988 is rolling out across the United States to replace different crisis phone numbers as a single phone number to call for support. 988 can be called or texted 24/7/365 to be connected to the local Philadelphia Crisis Line for crisis management/support, to access mobile team services, or for referral to an appropriate level of services/assessment. You can call for yourself, a friend/family member, or another community member whether it is an emergency or not.
Crisis Centers: Philadelphia has several crisis centers including a dedicated Children’s Crisis Center to service the mental health emergency needs of the community. Crisis centers are 24/7 walk-in facilities that can do on-site assessments, referrals, and assist in the Pennsylvania mental health commitment process if necessary. To find your local crisis center, check the DBHIdS website here.
Philadelphia System of Care: DBHIDS oversees programs and resources specifically for youth and families related to mental health wellness, adjusting to stressors, mental health challenges/management in children, violence-related issues, and trauma. The Philadelphia System of Care, which encompasses many programs and grants including PACTS (Philadelphia Alliance for Child Trauma Services) delivers these services. You can find the website here.
Awareness, destigmatization, and comfortability with mental health resources is an important responsibility for all. Mental health is a universal part of human life that affects everyone. For Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, do your part and brush up on the available resources right here in Philadelphia. It may just save a life.
About the Author: Patrick Kessel is the Suicide Prevention Coordinator in the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services’ Division of the Chief Medical Officer. Patrick has more than eight years of clinical mental health experience and more than three years of experience training individuals on suicide risk assessment tools.