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‘You’ve Got a Friend in Pennsylvania’ phone line supports mental health around the holidays

  • Sydney Roach/WPSU
Graphic for the new

 Pennsylvania Department Of Education

Graphic for the new "You've Got a Friend in Pennsylvania" phone line. The number spells 717-PRAISES, for when you need some praises.

A new automated phone line in Pennsylvania offers pep talks, jokes and words of encouragement from Pennsylvania students.

“The holiday season can be a time when people struggle with their mental health, and sometimes we can all use a little pick-me-up,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Khalid N. Mumin.

Mumin said Pennsylvania’s Department of Education made the phone line to spread cheer and encourage self-care.

“Users of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life—both in the Commonwealth and beyond—are encouraged to call the line anytime they need a pep talk,” Mumin said.

Callers have three options. Dial “1” to hear pep talk and words of encouragement from elementary students.

“You can be brave. Come on, you got this. You can do this,” says a child at that option.

Dial “2” to hear a joke.

“Where do pencils go on vacation? PENNSYLvania,” one child says in a recorded message.

Dial “3” to hear life advice.

“I just want you to know that there’s always going to be someone willing to listen to you,” another recorded message says.

The phone line does not share the name, school or location of any of the children featured.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 64% of people with a mental illness say their condition gets worse around the holidays. This can be because of stress, loneliness, financial concerns, or shorter daylight hours.

The “You’ve Got a Friend in Pennsylvania Pep Talk Phone Line” is free and automated. The number is (717) 772-4737. That spells 717-PRAISES, for when you need some praises.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, help is available. Contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988.

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