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Holidays can be Difficult for Those Experiencing Grief or COVID-19-related Stress; Help is Available

November 25, 2020

While holidays are associated with family gatherings and sharing time with loved ones, families who have experienced a loss can find the holiday season to be an especially challenging time. Combined this year with the COVID-19 pandemic, record unemployment, and staying home for the holidays instead of visiting relatives and friends, an extra layer of stress and even sadness may permeate this holiday season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most dangerous time of the year for substance use and alcohol-related deaths is around the holiday months.

For those who need assistance or mental health services during the holidays, please know that help is available.

This week, the Wolf Administration shared the following resources for Pennsylvanians:

Mental Health Support

  • Persevere PA at 1-855-284-2494. For TTY, dial 724-631-5600:  Pennsylvania’s free mental health support and referral helpline, Persevere PA, is available 24/7 to help individuals struggling with anxiety and other challenging emotions.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255; Spanish speakers can call 1-888-628-9454; Crisis Text Line by texting “PA” to 741-741: The free, confidential hotline is staffed 24/7 by trained counselors.

Substance Use Disorder

  • Get Help Now helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or online resources and anonymous chat: Pennsylvania’s Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs maintains a 24/7 toll-free helpline that connects callers looking for treatment options to resources in their community.

Food Assistance Programs

  • Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services’ website lists many state programs that can provide help to families who need food assistance
  • More information also is available at the Department of Agriculture’s website
  • Feeding Pennsylvania also provides resources and information

Older Pennsylvanians

  • SOLO: Strengthening Older Lives Online (Spanish) is an interactive guide released by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging’s Council on Aging with information and resources to help older adults manage the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic

Kinship Families

The Wolf Administration has established support for grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other family members caring for children who lost parents or whose parents are unable to care for them.

  • KinConnector helpline at 1-866-KIN-2111 (1-866-546-2111) or online resources