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Holidays can be Difficult for Those Impacted by Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders; Help is Available

December 24, 2018

Recently, Pennsylvania’s Departments of Drug and Alcohol Programs, Human Services, Health, and Aging reminded people affected by mental health and substance use disorders (SUD) that help is available throughout the holidays.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (or NAMI), extra stress, sentimental memories, or unrealistic expectations can lead to the “holiday blues.” One in five adults suffers from a mental illness in America, with 64 percent of people saying they were negatively impacted by the holidays. NAMI emphasizes that people who already live with a mental health condition should take extra care of their overall health and wellness during this time. 

Department leaders reminded Pennsylvanians that help is available at all times through a toll-free helpline, including Christmas Eve and Day and New Year’s Eve and Day. The Get Help Now helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) connects callers who need treatment options for themselves or a loved one with resources in their community. Helpline employees are trained professionals, who will remain on the line with the caller until treatment and resources have been identified and a warm handoff with a facility or provider has been made.

An anonymous chat service also is available online, along with the Drug and Alcohol Referral Tool. The online tool helps Pennsylvanians seeking SUD treatment resources to find treatment options and other related services in their area.

For immediate crisis situations, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available by calling 1-800-273-8255. The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by trained counselors. Help also can be accessed through the Crisis Text Line by texting “PA” to 741-741.

The Wolf Administration’s team stressed that the holidays can be especially challenging for individuals in recovery. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the most dangerous time of the year for substance use and alcohol related deaths are around the holiday months. The Administration has encouraged all Pennsylvanians to take advantage of the standing order to obtain Naloxone during the holidays.

For more information about treatment options and county-based resources, visit www.pa.gov/opioid.

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