United Way See the Impact: Education

Mental Health

One in five adult Pennsylvanians report having a mental health illness, while 20.9% of those seeking mental health services in PA find it inaccessible or prohibitively difficult to obtain.

According to the CDC, over 70% of Americans reported at least one symptom of stress, such as experiencing headaches, feeling overwhelmed or anxious.

Half of all Pennsylvanians have had at least one Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE), with close to one in five experiencing three or more different ACEs. Close to four in ten Pennsylvanians have experienced either physical or emotional abuse as a child. Experiencing childhood trauma and adversity, like Adverse Childhood Experiences, significantly increases the likelihood of social-emotional and mental health challenges as adults, with increased rates of depression, anxiety, PTSD and suicide (HEAL PA report).

Four in ten Lehigh Valley youth report feeling sad or depressed most days in the past 12 months, 15% had self-harmed and 17% had thoughts of suicide (PAYS data).

Children and youth with mental health disorders may miss as many as 18 to 22 days of school each year, causing them to be chronically absent and likely to fall behind academically, which can further exacerbate feelings of depression, anxiety and hopelessness; rate of school suspensions and expulsions for children and youth with mental health issues are three times higher than their peers (youth.gov).

Mental illnesses in adults, such as depression, are associated with higher rates of disability and unemployment. 

Mental health problems in youth often go hand in hand with other health and behavioral risks like increased risk of drug use, experiencing violence and higher risk sexual behaviors that can lead to HIV, STDs and unintended pregnancies, dropping out of school, being chronically absent, suicide or other self-harming behaviors (CDC).

Resilient Lehigh Valley aims to increase youth, family and older adult resiliency through creating a trauma-informed and resilient community.

“My trauma has stayed with me, and it’s important that I’m out in the community letting others know that they are resilient and aren’t alone.

Chief Michelle Kott
Bethlehem Area Police Department

In the News