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On Monday morning, the University launched a 24/7 hotline that Penn community members can call for mental health and wellness resources.

The HELP line, as it will be called, is an initiative recommended by the mental health task force that was formed in February after a string of student suicides.

The line will be staffed by Division of Public Safety professionals trained in mental health referrals by staff from Counseling and Psychological Services, according to an email to all students from Penn President Amy Gutmann, Provost Vincent Price and Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli.

The HELP line will serve as a “single point of entry for information” that can refer those with emotional and mental challenges to more resources and programs, the email said. Referrals may be made to CAPS, Student Intervention Services, DPS and other University resources. The email encouraged students to call the line both for their own issues and for those of friends.

This initiative is part of an ongoing process to expand mental health services. The mental health task force, which has been charged with evaluating mental health resources at Penn and making recommendations, will submit its report to the president by the end of the year.

The HELP line can be reached at 215-898-HELP.


The email announcing the launch is below:

A Message to the Penn Community Announcing the Launch of the HELP Line

From Amy Gutmann, President; Vincent Price, Provost; Craig Carnaroli, Executive Vice President

We are pleased to announce that the University has now launched the HELP Line, a 24-hour-a-day phone number for members of the Penn community who are seeking time sensitive help in navigating Penn’s resources for health and wellness.

Any member of the Penn community can utilize this service by calling 215-898-HELP. Calls will be answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by Division of Public Safety professionals trained in mental health referrals by staff from Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

As we first indicated in a campus-wide message on September 30, the HELP Line is part of the continuing steps that Penn is taking to expand mental health support for students and all members of the Penn community. It provides a single point of entry for information about how to get help with personal problems, whether your own or those of a student, partner, friend, or colleague. It also will enable callers to connect with resources and programs to promote health.

Students who are dealing with the complex emotional challenges of university life can use the HELP Line to receive information and referrals to the many health and wellness resources at Penn, including CAPS, Student Health Service, Student Intervention Services, Public Safety, and others. They may also call on behalf of a friend or acquaintance.

We encourage faculty and staff to be on alert for students who may be struggling with stress, anxiety, or depression. We hope you will bring the HELP Line to the attention of students, and use the number yourself whenever you need guidance on how best to offer support and assistance to a student in distress.

For parents, partners, family members, or close friends, we urge you to remind students of the resources available to them, which are listed at the bottom of this message, and to notify the University (by calling the HELP Line) if you have any concerns about a student’s emotional health.

Recommended by the Task Force on Student Psychological Health and Welfare, the HELP Line is one of the initiatives undertaken in recent months as part of our continuing efforts to support the emotional well-being of the Penn community. We will continue to implement further recommendations from the Task Force as they are developed.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the HELP Line at 215-898-HELP.

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