Schlossberg calls for end to stigma surrounding mental health, at public hearing

HARRISBURG, April 2 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, today participated in a House Human Services Committee public hearing titled "Eliminating Stigma in Mental Health," supporting a change in societal perception he believes is long overdue.

“Too often, people live in fear and embarrassment about their mental health struggles.  This is unnecessary and results in wasted lives and needless pain," Schlossberg said. "The purpose of this hearing was to learn more about what we, as a government and as elected officials, can do to combat this stigma. I am incredibly grateful for the work of the groups who joined us today in shining light on this important issue.”

State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the Human Services Committee, said, “One of the biggest issues facing those who suffer from mental health disabilities is the stigma that comes attached to their diagnosis. It can be debilitating and often times compound the issues that they are already having.”

Echoing Schlossberg’s concern, Cruz added, “Discussions like the one we had today will go a long way in helping us understand what needs to be done to ensure that those who suffer from mental health issues can get the assistance they need, without dealing with the stigma that they currently face.”

Held in the East Wing of the Capitol Complex, hearing participants included: Tim Clement, Scattergood Fellow on Stigma Reduction, Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation; Alyssa Goodin, director, Advocacy and Policy Division, Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania; Jeff Shair, mental health consultant, Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania; Sue Walther, executive director, Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania; and Mary Ann Venezia, Pennsylvania Psychiatric Society. 

In addition to being a member of the House Human Services Committee, Schlossberg also serves as a co-chair of the Mental Health Caucus.