Advocates Organize Grassroots Rally at
State Capitol for Increased Mental Health Funding
Harrisburg – On Wednesday, September 27, 2023, mental health advocates from across the state will hold a march and rally on the Capitol steps in Harrisburg to promote increased funding for mental health initiatives. Speakers include NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania CEO Christine Michaels, behavioral health consultant and mental health advocate Joan Erney, and Rep. Mike Schlossberg. The rally will address a number of topics, including the statewide shortage of mental health professionals.
“People need to understand the real-life impact of the workforce shortage,” said Christine Michaels, CEO of NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania. “What are working parents supposed to do when their child keeps getting sent home from school because of their behavior and there is no one available to help? Some children are waiting 18 months for an initial appointment just to gather basic information and learn what services are available."
Other topics of discussion will include the importance of increasing mental health base funding, equal access for all, and how living wages save the lives of people in Pennsylvania.
The gathering is a grassroots event that started as an idea in a support group meeting. “We were discussing how the legislature was not responding to the funding shortfalls and accessibility of mental health services,” said Owen Dougherty, event organizer and Board member of NAMI Northeast Region PA. “It has been a few years since the last rally at the Capitol and we decided that our voices needed to be heard.”
After the rally, participants will march around the capitol and meetings with legislators will follow. A few hundred people from across the state are expected to attend. Registration is not required but appreciated: https://forms.gle/rVysCa8z5CvqnarT7.
10:00 a.m. Registration
10:30 a.m. Welcoming and opening remarks
10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Rally speakers: Rep. Mike Schlossberg, Christine Michaels, and Joan Erney
11:30 a.m. -12:00 p.m. March/walk around the Capitol
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. Lunch on your own
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Scheduled meetings with legislators
Parking and additional march details can be found at https://tinyurl.com/HarrisburgMarchParking.