Shapiro Administration Reminds Pennsylvanians of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Supports, Public Assistance Programs, and Other Resources Available During the Holiday Season

Harrisburg, PA - Members of the Shapiro Administration today reminded Pennsylvanians of resources that are available to support them during the holiday season and beyond. The departments of Human Services (DHS), Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), and Health (DOH), came together to reinforce the Shapiro Administration’s commitment to helping Pennsylvanians throughout the year, especially during the holidays. 

“The holidays can be a joyous time as we gather with our loved ones to celebrate the season, but we know that this season comes with added responsibilities and expectations that can cause stress and lead to feelings of loneliness, anxiety or depression. Please know that if you are going through hard times, you are not alone – it is always okay to reach out for help if you need an extra hand, and the Shapiro Administration is here to help no matter the time of year,” said DHS Deputy Secretary for the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Jen Smith.

Some of the available resources highlighted at today’s event include: 

Mental Health Resources

The national Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available for free by calling or texting 988 and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 988 serves as a direct link for suicide prevention and mental health crisis support. Anyone who calls, texts, or chats with 988 will be directly connected to trained, compassionate mental health crisis response counselors. Callers to 988 can also connect with the Veterans Crisis Line or assistance in Spanish. 

988 call centers provide support for individuals considering suicide, self-harm, or any behavioral or mental health need for themselves as well as people looking for help for a loved one experiencing a mental health crisis.  

Pennsylvania’s Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Resource guides offer information related to mental health screenings, help with finding a mental health or SUD treatment professional, resources for housing insecurity, help with trauma, and assistance with contacting your county assistance office and county drug and alcohol office, and applying for benefits. 

More free resources are also available to assist Pennsylvanians with mental health needs connect with longer term support in their community. 

Substance Use Disorder Resources

Individuals seeking substance use treatment or recovery resources for themselves or a loved one can call the toll-free PA Get Help Now helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). This helpline is confidential, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and staffed by trained professionals who will connect callers to resources in their community. Callers can also be connected with funding if they need help paying for treatment. Treatment Atlas is also available for Pennsylvanians and their loved ones to search for and compare SUD treatment facilities using criteria such as location, services offered, and insurance accepted so they can find the best treatment for their unique needs.  

“During this season of holidays, it is important to remind anyone who is struggling with grief, isolation, or battling a substance use disorder that no one is ever alone; there are always resources available to help,” said DDAP Deputy Secretary Kelly Primus. “The Get Help Now hotline is available every day, including Christmas Eve and Day and New Year’s Eve and Day. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and use this helpline.” 


Naloxone is a medication that can reverse an overdose caused by an opioid drug (e.g. prescription opioid medication for pain or heroin). When administered during an overdose, naloxone blocks the effects of opioids on the brain and restores breathing. Pennsylvanians can obtain naloxone at their local pharmacy by using the Physician General’s standing order. People can also get naloxone mailed to their home when completing a short training through a partnership with NEXT Distro.  

“Carrying naloxone can save a life this holiday season,” said Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Debra Bogen. “I encourage everyone to have this life-saving tool on hand. The Shapiro Administration remains dedicated to helping people who have substance use disorder, and I’m happy to share that it is now easier than ever to access naloxone in Pennsylvania.” 

Resources for Older Adults

The PA Link to Aging and Disability Resource Centers, also known as the PA Link, assists older adults and individuals with disabilities by providing information and connecting them to supports including assistive technology to access telehealth services, check-in calls and options to help reduce social isolation. Any older adult needing support can contact the PA Link Call Center by phone at 1-800-753-8827 or online at

In addition, Pennsylvania’s 52 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), covering the Commonwealth’s 67 counties, provide virtual and in-person activities, including health and wellness programs. Older adults can locate their local area agency on aging here.  

DHS and the Pennsylvania Department of Aging also want grandparents raising grandchildren as well as other family members such as, aunts, uncles, and cousins, who find themselves caring for children who lost parents or whose parents are not able to be their primary caregiver to know that help is available via the KinConnector helpline. The helpline is staffed by Kinship Navigators – compassionate, knowledgeable social service professionals prepared to help families locate, understand, and access resources that may be able to help them during the holiday season. It can be reached by calling 1-866-KIN-2111 (1-866-546-2111) or online at

Resources for People with Intellectual Disabilities & Autism

DHS’ Office of Developmental Programs has resources developed by self-advocates to provide helpful tips and suggestions for people with intellectual disabilities & autism to manage stress during the holidays. These tips include: 

  • Being aware of your sensory issues and trying your best to explain them to other people, 
  • Talking to a trusted friend or family member about expectations for the gathering, 
  • Using coping skills and having an exit plan if you need to excuse yourself, 
  • Making sure you have a safe, comfortable place when you come home to decompress, and 
  • Understanding self-care and knowing what works best for you in holiday situations. 

Additional information and resources can be found at or

Public Assistance Programs

DHS encourages Pennsylvanians struggling to meet basic needs to apply for programs that can help them meet essential needs through the winter months. Programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), cash assistance, Medicaid (also known as Medical Assistance in Pennsylvania), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and other programs can be applied for at any time at  

On-site County Assistance Office (CAO) services are also available if recipients cannot access online services or need assistance that cannot be accessed through the COMPASS website, the myCOMPASS PA mobile app, or by calling the Customer Service Centers at 1-877-395-8930 or 215-560-7226 for people in Philadelphia.    

For more information on assistance programs available to help Pennsylvanians, visit

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DHS Media Contact Details

Press Office

Department of Human Services 717-425-7606
Department of Human Services Media

Ali Fogarty

Communications Director Department of Human Director 717-425-7606
Department of Human Services Media

Brandon Cwalina

Press Secretary Department of Human Services 717-425-7606
Department of Human Services Media