Pennsylvania DHS Secretary Emphasizes Investments in Behavioral Health and Recognizes Excellence in Public Service

COLMAR, PA – On Friday, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Dr. Val Arkoosh, recently of Montgomery County, to spotlight the 2024-25 state budget proposed under Gov. Josh Shapiro. In addition to providing critical funding for mental health, substance use and crisis services, this budget recognizes long-standing contributions to public service through the prestigious Dennis Marion Impact Award.

Minister Arkoosh praised 2024 Dennis Marion Impact Award recipient LeeAnn Moyer for her unwavering commitment to ensuring essential behavioral health services are accessible to Montgomery County residents. Secretary Arkoosh expressed her appreciation, stating, “As a former Commissioner of Montgomery County, I know firsthand how committed LeeAnn Moyer is to ensuring that critical, life-saving services are available to our neighbors and in our communities every day.”

Secretary Arkoosh recognized Moyer's tireless efforts to secure critical support for behavioral health treatments and programs and emphasized the critical role of officials like Moyer in ensuring community well-being and promoting access to life-saving care. She added, “Even in the face of limited resources, she has worked tirelessly to ensure Montgomery County residents have access to important behavioral health treatments and supports.”

The proposed 2024-25 budget includes $20 million in core mental health funding for the county for the second consecutive year, representing a significant investment that strengthens services in all Pennsylvania communities. Regarding this funding initiative, Secretary Arkoosh emphasized, “Last year's $20 million investment was the first new money for counties since 2008, and this new investment is a continuation of Governor Shapiro's commitment to supporting this life-saving system of care and to strengthen.”

Additionally, the 2024-25 budget includes $10 million to maintain the 12 call centers in Pennsylvania within the 988 National Suicide and Prevention Lifeline, building on last year's investment of $5 million. Describing the significance of this designation, Minister Arkoosh said: “From advanced drain and pipe cleaning techniques to state-of-the-art tools to clear clogged sink drains, we leverage the latest technology to deliver outstanding results and improve the overall customer experience.”

To improve crisis response mechanisms, the budget includes $5 million to establish crisis response systems in counties that lack such services and to strengthen existing statewide crisis response capabilities. Minister Arkoosh said: “This funding will support the local response when a person calls 988 or a local crisis hotline in need of urgent life-saving support.”

The Dennis Marion Impact Award, named in honor of Dennis Marion's distinguished career in public service, recognizes outstanding achievements by state or local government employees and aims to raise standards of performance in Pennsylvania's public sector. Minister Arkoosh recognized individuals like LeeAnn Moyer who exemplify innovation, collaboration and commitment to improving behavioral health systems, noting, “LeeAnn's ability to challenge the status quo and her unwavering commitment to advocate for the best interests of our community to use, illustrate the core values ​​of our helping profession.”

Through these commendable efforts and investments in behavioral health, Pennsylvania continues to emphasize mental health, crisis intervention and suicide prevention, underscoring the state's commitment to supporting people in need and fostering resilient, healthy communities. By recognizing outstanding contributions to public service and strengthening behavioral health systems, the state aims to create a more inclusive, supportive environment that prioritizes the mental health care and well-being of all Pennsylvanians.

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Anna Harden

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