Governor Josh Shapiro shared his plans to ensure that Pennsylvania students have access to mental health resources in schools during a visit to Hempfield Area High School in Westmoreland County.
“For too long, there has been a stigma around mental health care – but that’s changing with this generation. Students across the Commonwealth aren’t afraid to talk about their mental health, and that’s what I heard here today,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “Mental health affects our kids in and out of school – and we need a comprehensive approach to deliver real help across Pennsylvania. That’s why my budget proposes investing half a billion dollars in mental health in our schools over the next 5 years to give students better access to mental health supports and to help us train more mental health professionals to work these critical jobs. It’s time we listen to young people and deliver the help they need.”
The Governor met with Hempfield students, counselors, teachers, and administrators to hear firsthand about the mental health resources they need in their classrooms.
“Our staff, students, administration, and school board directors would like to thank all of you for visiting us today, especially Governor Shapiro, to speak with our students regarding a very serious topic that is important to every school in the Commonwealth, and that topic would be mental health,” said Hempfield Area High School Principal Dr. David Palmer. “We have seen an increased need for mental health services over the past several years, and we are always looking for ways to assist our students in this area. We have a passionate student body who are aware of this growing concern and want to do everything they can to help.”
“I say with urgency that the mental health crisis in American teens needs to be addressed immediately,” said Hempfield Area High School Student Nick Miller. “I am grateful for Governor Shapiro and his Administration because they are aware of this crisis and want to continue educating themselves and others and reach out to teenagers to create solutions.”
In Pennsylvania, over 40% of students reported symptoms of depression in 2021. In addition to his budget’s proposed investments to address this crisis, Governor Shapiro has directed Insurance Commissioner Mike Humphries to make mental health parity a reality in Pennsylvania by continuing to hold insurers accountable so that mental health benefits are covered fairly.