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The feature image is from video of the round-table discussion provided by pahouse.com.
HARRISBURG, Jan. 15 — State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, today participated in a joint roundtable at the Pennsylvania Capitol on mental health.
Schlossberg was joined by the state Health Department Secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine, members of the Governor’s Commission on LGBTQ Affairs, service providers from organizations serving LGBTQ individuals and members of the Mental Health Caucus, LGBTQ Equality Caucus, Health Committee and Human Services Committee.
“More and more, we are learning that fixing a broken mental health care system includes connecting services with at-risk communities,” Schlossberg said. “LGBTQ individuals are at high risk for a number of health concerns, including mental health. While there are some mental health services available in the Lehigh Valley for LGBTQ individuals, we need to do a better job of making these services available across Pennsylvania.”
Members of the House of Representatives gathered for a roundtable discussion about mental health challenges and barriers faced by the LGBTQ community to identify policy changes needed in Pennsylvania. Many studies show LGBTQ individuals, specifically seniors, veterans, youth and communities of color are at high risk for mental health crisis.
“The LGTBQ community faces unique health care needs, and access to mental health treatment without stigma is among the most pressing,” Levine said. “As part of the Governor’s Reach Out PA: Your Mental Health Matters campaign, we want everyone to feel comfortable speaking about their mental health. Understanding that it is okay to not feel okay is essential as we work to establish a healthy Pennsylvania for all.”
“Pennsylvania LGBT deserve high-quality health care, but sadly that isn’t the reality many of us experience because of pervasive barriers to care and discrimination,” said Adrian Shanker, founder and executive director of the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown. “The good news is that these are fixable problems. Legislators hearing and learning about LGBT health challenges is a great first-step.”
In addition to Levine and Shanker, who also is a commissioner on the Governor’s Commission on LGBTQ Affairs, the panelists included: Maureen Brackey, LGBTQ veteran care coordinator; Terri Clark, Action Wellness/Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders (SAGE); Judy Morrissey, behavioral health director, Mazzoni Center; Randell Faulkner, assistant behavioral health director, Mazzoni Center; Troy Stevenson, campaign manager for 50 Bills 50 States, the Trevor Project; Casey Pick, senior fellow for advocacy and government affairs, the Trevor Project; Sarah deChamplain, REACCH program manager, Pinnacle Health; Michael Dolatoski, REACH Clinic, Pinnacle Health.
The roundtable was part of a new effort to address mental health issues for constituencies which face high-risk for crisis, limited access to services, economic barriers and other factors which negatively affect mental health. All members of the Mental Health Caucus, LGBTQ Equality Caucus, Health Committee and Human Services Committee were invited to participate.
Information provided to TVL by:
Senior Media Specialist
PA House of Representatives
Democratic Legislative Communications Office