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Home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Penguins, and the Pirates, Pittsburgh is well known for its rich steel industry. The city is located in Allegheny County and has over 306,000 year-round residents1. In addition to those living in the city, many more come into the area every day to work, play, or study. The city has several institutions of higher education, including the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Melon University. Ranked as a top-city destination to live in and visit by National Geographic, Forbes, and others, the steel city also offers cultural venues including the Pittsburgh Opera and the Pittsburgh Symphony.

 

Mental Health Statistics
According to a Pennsylvania Department of Health Survey, conducted in 2011, 38% of county residents experienced at least one poor day of mental health in any 30-day period, and 25% cited having their daily activities impaired as a result of mental, physical, or emotional problems. Depression was diagnosed in 19% of county residents at some point in their lives. Of all county adults, 8% reported having a problem with alcohol, and 20% reported having had an episode of binge drinking once per month2. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that 13.4% of all Pittsburgh area residents used illicit drugs, and 8.7% had a substance abuse problem between 2005 and 20103.

 

Pittsburgh’s Mental Health Resources
In an effort to raise awareness about common mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress, and bipolar, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services provides an anonymous, online screening for residents to assess their mental health. The self-administered screening provides users with recommendations and resources for seeking help. The county also provides an alcohol use screening to help residents determine if their alcohol consumption is problematic4.

 

The Allegheny County Coalition for Recovery designed the campaign Hope and Change – Imagine the Possibilities to eradicate the stigma that surrounds mental illness. The coalition’s goal is to help people initiate discussion around mental health issues, to encourage those with mental health diagnoses to pursue treatment, and to instill hope in those living with substance abuse issues and emotional health problems.

 

The county also offers numerous resources for children in need. For example, the Explore Your Emotions booklet includes activities and games for children to express themselves and explore social, emotional, and behavioral development in a unique way. By using the booklet, children are able to share their emotions with trusted adults and act as agents of their own recovery. In addition, LGBTQ residents can find support through the region’s Family Acceptance Project, which offers suggestions on ways to create an environment of acceptance for all residents, regardless of their sexual, social, religious, or cultural differences5.

 

Other services offered through the state, county, and city include emergency crisis services, free mental health evaluations, mental health first-aid education and training, outpatient services, residential services, community outreach programs, employment support services, early intervention, and ongoing coordination of care6.

 

1 U.S. Department of Commerce, United States Census Bureau. (2013). State & County QuickFacts. Retrieved from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/42/4261000.html

2 Pennsylvania Department of Health. (2013). 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System: Core Question Response Tables by Demographic Characteristics: Allegheny County and Pennsylvania Comparisons. Retrieved from http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=596755&mode=2

3 SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2012). National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Substance Use and Mental Disorders in the Pittsburgh MSA. Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUHMetroBriefReports/NSDUH-Metro-Pittsburgh.pdf

4 Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: Department of Human Services. (2013). Mental Health and Alcohol Use Screenings. Retrieved from http://www.county.allegheny.pa.us/dhs/nasd.aspx

5 Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: Department of Human Services. (2013). Anti-stigma. Retrieved from http://www.county.allegheny.pa.us/dhs/antistigma.aspx

6 Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: Department of Human Services. (2013). Mental Health Services and Support. Retrieved from http://www.county.allegheny.pa.us/dhs/mhservices.aspx