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Philadelphia Mayoral Candidate David Oh on the Mental Health Crisis

November 2, 2023

Philadelphians will go to the ballot box this November to elect their 100th mayor. The city’s next mayor will inherit what President Joe Biden has described as a “mental health crisis.” Voters must know how the candidates will respond to the crisis upon taking office. As the region’s leader in individual, couples, and family therapy, we contacted all current candidates to understand better their strategies for tackling this crisis. We will publish all candidates’ responses as is.

The Philadelphia municipal election is on November 7, 2023. Click here to learn more about the important election dates and how to register to vote.

Today, we welcome the Republican mayoral nominee, David Oh (R). Read on to learn what David Oh’s administration would do to address the mental health crisis in Philadelphia.

Editors Note: CFR has attempted to reach Democratic mayoral nominee Cherelle Parker since April, but her campaign has not responded to our requests for comment (something not unique to CFR). Council for Relationships, a nonprofit organization, does not endorse any political candidate.

Philadelphia City Council Member David Oh (pictured here) is the Republican nominee for Philadelphia mayor.

How will your administration address the mental health and emotional wellness needs of Philadelphia? Describe your vision for building stronger relationships among and within families and communities.

Build a broad-based coalition of neighborhood groups, community-based organizations (CBOs), churches, faith-based organizations, and mental health treatment providers that will work in consort to address the mental health and social service needs in their community. Coalitions will assess local neighborhood/community needs and leverage public and private resources to develop community resources. Appropriate City agencies, including The Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health, The Department of Human Services, and the Philadelphia School District, will support this effort. Since there is a wide range of needs in communities across Philadelphia, local planning is the preferred approach to building relationships that will strengthen families and communities.

Describe your plan to make mental health care accessible to all Philadelphians, particularly for Philadelphia’s Black community, who disproportionally lack access to mental health care.

Ensure timely access to outpatient and inpatient mental health care in neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia. Address issues within the City mental health system that limit access, including inadequate funding levels and workforce shortages. Work with organizations that serve Black communities to ensure mental health services are provided in a culturally competent manner. Support integration of mental health providers and community-based organizations to address social determinants of health that impact mental health.

With President Biden naming the “tackling of the mental health crisis” as a priority for his administration, describe your plan to address the growing mental health crisis youth face in the city and what role government agencies such as the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbilities Services (DBHIDS) will play in addressing the youth mental health crisis.

Build capacity within communities and schools to ensure adequate resources to address youth mental health. Expand the school-based mental health service model in the School District of Philadelphia. Expand funding available through the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health (including Community Behavioral Health) and the School District to offer preventative services and mental health support in every school building in the City. Develop strategies to meet youth mental health needs within City agencies that offer touchpoints for youths, such as the Department of Parks and Recreation, to ensure mental health support is available outside the context of schools.

A Note from CFR

As a nonprofit, Council for Relationships relies on the generosity of others to make the highest-quality mental health care available to those who lack access. Please consider donating today.

Other Mayoral Candidate Responses

Philly Mayoral Candidate Jimmy DeLeon on the Mental Health Crisis

Philly Mayoral Candidate Helen Gym on the Mental Health Crisis

Philadelphia Mayoral Candidate Rebecca Rhynhart on the Mental Health Crisis