HAP's Latest News

A Focus on Health this Holiday Season

December 22, 2023

This week, the Shapiro administration is reminding Pennsylvanians about the help available to support their health this holiday season.

“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,” said Jen Smith, Department of Human Services (DHS) Deputy Secretary for the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

State officials pointed to the following resources to support health during the holidays and beyond:

  • Resources for older adults:  The PA Link to Aging and Disability Resource Centers connects older adults and individuals with disabilities to assistive technology to access telehealth services, check-in calls, and other services to help reduce social isolation.
  • Mental health:  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.
    • The lifeline connects people to trained, compassionate mental health crisis response counselors.
    • Pennsylvania’s Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Resource guides offer information about how to access treatment.
  • Substance use disorder:  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 800-662-HELP (4357).
    • Pennsylvanians can obtain naloxone at their local pharmacy by using the physician general’s standing order.
  • Resources for people with intellectual disabilities and autism:  The state Office of Developmental Programs has resources developed by self-advocates to provide tips and suggestions for people with intellectual disabilities and autism to manage stress during the holidays.
  • Public assistance:  DHS helps Pennsylvanians meet essential needs through the winter months through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, cash assistance, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and other initiatives.

HAP wishes everyone a happy, healthy holiday season. Additional information about programs to support health in Pennsylvania is available online.