Chester, PA – May 25, 2021 – Last week, state Senator John Kane (D, Delaware/Chester) hosted a telephone town hall highlighting mental health resources available for community members. Over 1000 residents of Delaware and Chester Counties tuned in for the hour-long telephone conference, which featured Delaware County’s Deputy Mental Health Administrator Donna Holiday.
“Between a global pandemic, changes in school and work, and the biggest recession in over a decade, there are new sources of stress on all of us, meaning new mental health challenges for many,” said Senator Kane in his opening remarks. “I know what it’s like to wait in line for unemployment checks and to worry about how you’re going to put food on the table to support your family. I led my union through the 2008 recession, which put almost 500 of my members out of work. I saw members struggle with opioid addiction and substance use, and some die by suicide. I know the emotional toll that economic hardships can take. My story is different than a lot of elected officials, but I know it’s similar to a lot of yours. I know the struggles many of you are facing.”
Questions were asked via pre-submitted email and from live constituents, covering topics ranging from mental health resources for the uninsured to the status of the new Delaware County Health Department. Constituents reached out for information about service animals, alternative medicines to curb the opioid epidemic, and how to care for family members struggling with mental illness.
During the town hall, Senator Kane shared his own struggles with addiction and mental health concerns. “I want everyone to know that if you have no one to talk to, call my office. I’ll talk to you,” said Senator Kane halfway through the conference. He encouraged residents to ask the difficult questions, including asking those who are struggling if they are contemplating suicide. “It’s uncomfortable, and it’s not something most of us have thought to ask. But it’s important. Reaching out is the first step to making sure everyone gets the help they need,” said Senator Kane.
A full recording of the town hall can be found at pasenatorkane.com/audio. If you are struggling, please contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or the Pennsylvania mental health support line at 855-284-2494.