LANCASTER, Pa. — Pennsylvanian school counselors, health professionals, youth leaders, policy maker and students met in Lancaster County for the Youth Mental Health Summit on Wednesday.
The Pennsylvania School Counselors Association (PSCA) said they held the conference to speak about the alarming mental health crisis seen across Pennsylvanian schools.
Organizers said the all day event was spent sharing dialogue about this growing trend and how to eliminates barriers for students access to care. PSCA said the summit would have a series of panels, breakout sessions, and speakers to discuss key areas of policy reform, effective practices, and networks of support for students in and beyond the walls of school and across a lifetime.
Stephen Sharp, a school counselor and speaker at this year's summit, said that students mental health was on the top of their mind on Wednesday.
"We value the work that we know [students] do every day for their own mental health and for their friends," said Sharp. "We’re looking here today to support them to making schools and their everyday so much better."
Mandy Savitz-Romer, Ph.D., the keynote speaker and a Harvard professor, will kick off the summit discussing strategies and systems to support student mental health and academic development.
"The youth mental health crisis is the crisis of our time and we have to do something differently," said Savitz-Romer. "What I’m hoping comes from today, with all the speakers, students and policy makers is that we can identify new ways of working together and sharing responsibility for addressing this most pressing issue."
The PA Youth Mental Health Summit began at 8:30 a.m. with a breakfast and lasted until 4 p.m at the Lancaster Wyndham Retreat and Conference Center.