In May 2019, the Wolf Administration announced a first-of-its-kind, statewide Suicide Prevention Task Force to develop Pennsylvania's statewide suicide prevention plan, a four-year strategy to reduce suicide in Pennsylvania and fight the stigma associated with suicide, suicide attempts, and mental health issues so that Pennsylvanians in crisis know their lives are valuable and help is available.
According to a 2018 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the country and is one of only three that are on the rise. In Pennsylvania, suicide rates have increased by 34 percent since 1999.
The Suicide Prevention Task Force is made up of several state agencies, members of the General Assembly, and Prevent Suicide PA who will engage members of the public, stakeholders, county task forces, individuals, and families who are impacted by suicide every year.
The Task Force will:
- Convene task force members from multiple state agencies, the general assembly, and Prevent Suicide PA to review and provide input on a draft 2020-2024 suicide prevention plan, developed by DHS's Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS), on behalf of individuals served by taskforce members.
- Brainstorm and promote educational and training activities to support the goal of preventing suicide and reduce the stigma associated with suicide in Pennsylvania for commonwealth employees, the general assembly, the media, relevant stakeholder groups, and the general public.
- Work with stakeholder groups, the general assembly, and individuals and families with lived experiences to learn from, discuss, and promote the commonwealth's suicide prevention activities through a coordinated effort.
- Publicize Pennsylvania's 2020-2024 statewide suicide prevention plan and share it with the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
- Determine a governance structure to carry out Pennsylvania's suicide prevention plan and provide input related to any policy, communications, funding, and programmatic activities.
If you're thinking about suicide, are worried about
a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support,
the Lifeline Network is available 24/7 across
the United States at 1-800-273-8255.
Public Listening Sessions
The Suicide Prevention Task Force will convene public listening sessions from August-November. Check back for information regarding dates and locations.
Stakeholder engagement and regional listening sessions
Aug. 21, 2019 —
Central Penn College
Mental Health Planning Council/Regional Listening Session
Sept. 12, 2019 — Penn State Behrend-Reed Union Building
Sept. 26, 2019 — Temple University, Fox-Gittis Community Room
Oct. 10, 2019 — Jewish Community Center
Oct. 24, 2019 — Lackawanna College
Oct. 25, 2019 — Cedar Crest College
Nov. 8, 2019 — Slippery Rock University
Nov. 15, 2019 — Radnor Township Building
Nov. 20, 2019 — State College Municipal Building
Dec. 5, 2019 —
Fred Rogers Studio WQED
Many Pennsylvanians expressed interest to share their personal stories — whether they are family or friend loss survivors, attempt survivors, health providers, or community members — to raise awareness and help suicide prevention efforts in any way possible. The public's voice will help the task force members shape a statewide suicide prevention plan, which will include recommendations, not only for state government but for stakeholders and communities, to carry forward and implement.