PHILADELPHIA − June 7, 2023 – On Thursday May 25th Senator Sharif Street joined Dr. Val Arkoosh, Acting Secretary of the Department of Human Services, for a Mental Health Awareness Tour in North Philadelphia, closing out Mental Health Awareness Month.
Acting DHS Secretary Arkoosh visited multiple locations including: One Day At A Time Addiction Recovery Services, Sankofa Healing Studio and Nomo Foundation. Each provide behavioral health care to diverse populations. The visit comes amid Governor Shapiro’s calls for increased resources for mental health resources in Pennsylvania’s Budget. Budget negotiations began this week.
Senator Street shared that it was an honor to “join Acting Secretary Arkoosh in our Mental Health Walk in North Philadelphia – on the ground – to explore the various social challenges that adversely affect and impact mental health in our community.” As PA Budget negotiations near he stated it was critical to “connect with Dr. Arkoosh in person to interact with residents and providers to discuss how we can better support those providing critical resources in this space.”
“Behavioral health care is foundational to our overall health, wellbeing, and ability to show up for ourselves and our loved ones throughout our lives,” said Acting Secretary Arkoosh. “Thank you, Senator Street, for the chance to learn about this inspiring and necessary work helping people with mental health challenges, mental illness, and substance use disorders and their loved ones get the care and support they need – we must continue to work together as a Commonwealth to make this care accessible in all communities.”
Mel Wells, President of One Day at A Time Recovery Services – the first stop on the tour – shared that, it was a “pleasure to have Senator Sharif Street and Secretary Dr. Val Arkoosh, visit ODAAT, along with Stop & Surrender and Everything Must Change to talk about the services we provide to the city and how we could use more funding to continue to do the work and help our community more.”
Senator Street applauds Governor Shapiro making increased mental health resources a budget priority and looks forward to getting it done as budget negotiations continue.