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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: May 9, 2023 03:37 PM
From: Representative Christina D. Sappey
To: All House members
Subject: Trauma and Mental Health Awareness Day
In the 1990s, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kaiser Permanente completed a groundbreaking study on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that showed how traumatic experiences in childhood—such as neglect, abuse, and observing violence—can increase the likelihood of negative health outcomes, like heart disease, lung disease, and various types of cancer, and increase the likelihood of negative social outcomes such as homelessness, criminal justice involvement, and employment challenges. Studies done on this topic in the years following further detailed the negative impact that trauma has on not just individuals, but also society as a whole. However, the ACEs study stressed that the negative impact of trauma on individuals can be reversed with proper access to mental health supports and services.
Governor Wolf started the process of making Pennsylvania a trauma-informed and healing-centered state by implementing the Trauma-Informed PA plan and creating the Office of Advocacy and Reform (OAR) to expand mental health resources. Now, it is up to us to take it further and change the culture of Pennsylvania to acknowledge that trauma impacts health outcomes and embrace practices that support healing. That is why I am introducing a resolution to designate May 25, 2023, as Trauma and Mental Health Awareness Day. By recognizing a day for trauma and mental health awareness, we embrace values that will make Pennsylvania sensitive to how traumatic experiences impact a person’s overall well-being through their health and social outcomes.
Recognizing this important issue will raise awareness and remove stigma around trauma and mental health and encourage increased resources for these issues so that our communities can grow even stronger. Please join me in making Pennsylvania a healthier, trauma-aware state.

Introduced as HR115