Since 1989, the Commonwealth has conducted a survey of school students in the 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grades to learn about their behavior, attitudes, and knowledge concerning alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, and violence. The ‘Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS),’ or PAYS, is sponsored and conducted every two years by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
The data gathered in PAYS serve two primary needs. First, the results provide school administrators, state agency directors, legislators and others with critical information concerning the changes in patterns of the use and abuse of these harmful substances and behaviors. Second, the survey assesses risk factors related to these behaviors and the protective factors that help guard against them. This information allows community leaders to direct prevention resources to areas where they are likely to have the greatest impact.
During the 2021 PAYS survey, Montgomery County youth demonstrated an increase in needs related to mental health wellness and suicide prevention services. A summary of data is available here. Below is a list of services available to address these needs.
Montgomery County 2021 PAYS Report: County Reports Montgomery County Profile Report (pa.gov)
2021 PAYS Montgomery County Infographic
Youth and Families
Competent and caring crisis workers will help individuals resolve crisis situations like depression or suicidal thoughts through telephone and mobile support when needed. The team is there to help with immediate crisis situations and help reduce and manage recurring crises. All services are provided at no charge. Crisis support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Phone: 1-855-634-HOPE (4673)
Teen Talk Line
Provided by Access Services. This is a warm line where teens can speak or text anonymously with a peer about any issues or problems they are facing without fear of judgment. The talk/text lines are available seven days a week from 1:00 PM – 9:00 PM. The line is closely tied to the Montgomery County Mobile Crisis Program and is a supplement to that service. This also allows any true crisis calls to be immediately transferred to a crisis worker.
Parent & Caregiver Support
FamilyWorx is an advocacy team comprised of parents and primary caregivers whose children are involved in the public health system. Team members work together to support parents and caregivers as someone who has been in their shoes. For more information, contact Lisa Radcliffe, Program Supervisor.
The Montgomery County PA Affiliate is the local voice of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Its mission is to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness through recovery-focused support, education, and advocacy. Individuals and families benefit from the opportunity to connect with community resources, participate in programming, and gain an understanding of mental illness through community awareness and advocacy events. All NAMI Montgomery County PA programming is free to the community.
Virtual & In-Person Mental Health Services
- Commercial Insurance: Contact the insurance provider and ask for behavioral health services.
- Medical Assistance or No Insurance: Contact the regional Administrative Case Management Department.
- Western Region: Creative Health Services, 610-326-2767
- Franconia/Salford Region: Penn Foundation, 215-257-6551
- Lansdale Region: Merakey, 215-368-2022
- Norristown Region: Central Behavioral Health, 610-277-4600
- Lower Merion Region: Lower Merion Counseling Services, 610-520-1510
- Abington Region: Child and Family Focus, 267-818-6190
In School/Community Mental Health Supports
Student Assistance Program (SAP) Individual & Group Support
- SAP is a K-12 school-based, evidence-informed framework for prevention, early intervention, referral, and support for students with mental health and drug and alcohol needs that may prevent them from fully benefiting from their educational experiences. Services are offered at no cost. Students can be referred through the school’s SAP team or by contacting one of the following providers. Parent permission is required for participation.
- SE Region School Districts: Aldersgate Youth Service Bureau: 215-657-4545
- Central Region School Districts: Carson Valley Children’s Aid: 215-233-1960; extension 305
- Western Region School Districts: Creative Health Services: 610-327-1503
- Central Eastern School Districts: Merakey (formerly NHS): 215-368-2022
- SAP Providers may also provide the following evidence-based programs:
- Signs of Suicide: Designed for grades 6-12, SOS teaches students how to identify signs of depression and suicide in themselves and their peers, while providing materials that train school professionals, parents, and communities to recognize at-risk students and take appropriate action.
- The Blues Program: High school students referred to their school’s SAP team may be eligible to participate in this six-session group that teaches youth how to reframe negative thoughts and other strategies that support symptoms of depression. Parent permission is required for this SAP service.
Hope For Tomorrow
Led by Access Services, Hope 4 Tomorrow is an innovative assembly program that helps youth focus on the importance of their own health and wellness. Students engage in interactive ways and can ask questions related to mental health in real-time. The answers are used to have conversations and help the students develop strategies to help themselves and one another. Available for students ages 14 and older.
Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR)
QPR teaches three (3) simple steps that anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. This Gatekeeper training prepares attendees to recognize the warning signs of suicide, ask someone about suicidal thoughts, and offer and connect to help. Offered in partnership with the MontCo Suicide Prevention Taskforce. Available for students, communities, and school staff.
Ending the Silence
NAMI’s Ending the Silence is a free, evidence-based, 50-minute session designed for middle and high school students. Your students will learn about mental health conditions through a brief presentation, short videos, and personal testimony from a young adult who describes their journey to recovery.
Say It Out Loud
NAMI’s Say It Out Loud gives adults the tools they need to hold conversations about mental health with teens. Raising awareness by sharing information and starting conversations about mental health is key in reducing these perceptions and increasing the likelihood that teens will seek mental health care when they need it. NAMI is committed to helping start those conversations and created Say it Out Loud to get teens talking about mental health. Say it Out Loud gives adults the tools they need to hold conversations about mental health with teens in faith-based or community youth groups. The toolkit includes a short film showing the 10 common warning signs and three youth sharing their experiences, a discussion guide on how to hold a successful group discussion, a narrated presentation for the group facilitator to learn more about mental health conditions in youth, and fact sheets and information about how to connect with NAMI in their community.
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