Childhood mental health focus of Hill-Evans Policy Committee hearing

YORK, March 28 State Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, hosted today’s House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on the lifelong impacts of childhood mental health at the York College Center for Community Engagement.

Hill-Evans requested the hearing to discuss how professionals, educators and families can work together to improve outcomes for children experiencing mental health issues. She was joined by legislators from across the state including Policy Committee Chairman, Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster.

“It’s extremely important that the community come together to make sure we are giving children experiencing mental health issues the tools they need to overcome those issues. When our doctors, educators and social workers are a part of the solution with parents, we can ensure better outcomes and a brighter future for Pennsylvania children,” said Hill-Evans.

Sturla added: “Children who have mental health issues or experience trauma are in need of additional support. If we can come together to make sure these children get the resources they need early on in life, we can ultimately have positive impact on their future health and behaviors. Addressing ACES - adverse childhood experiences – could be another tool to help us address mental health issues.”

The committee heard testimony from:  Matt Bahn, Member, Oasis House; a panel from the School District of the City of York including Dr. Linda Brown, Assistant Superintendent of Special Education;  Laura Bloss, Special Education Social Worker;  Dr. Kristin Shillingsford, Occupational Therapist;  Paul Andriukaitis, Special Education Social Worker;  Victoria Valdez, Special Education Social Worker;  Angie Wetzel, Speech Therapist; and Dr. Michelle Merkle, Education Consultant;  Dr. Adrienne Johnson, Family Medicine Specialist, Security Family Medicine; and  Aly Cunningham, Technology Integrator, York Suburban School District.

The meeting is one in a series held across the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA, focused on putting people first, good jobs, healthcare access, quality schools and jobs training, and a fair economy. Additional information about the plan is available at www.plan4pa.com.

Video and testimony from today’s hearing will be available at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee.