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Philly Mayoral Candidate Jimmy DeLeon on the Mental Health Crisis

April 24, 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.” It is imperative that voters know how the candidates will respond to the crisis upon taking office. As the region’s leader in individual, couples, and family therapy, we reached out to all current candidates to better understand their strategies for tackling this crisis. We will publish all candidates’ responses as is.

Note: Council for Relationships, as a nonprofit organization, does not endorse any political candidate.

The Philadelphia municipal primary is May 16, 2023, and the municipal election is November 7, 2023. Click here to learn more about the important election dates and how to register to vote.

Today we welcome retired municipal court judge Jimmy DeLeon (D). Read on to learn what Jimmy DeLeon’s administration would do to address the mental health crisis in Philadelphia.

Portrait of Philadelphia mayoral candidate Jimmy DeLeon wearing a grey suite with a light blue tie and white shirt. DeLeon is looking directly at the camera and is smiling. The background is of a bush and tree.

Retired municipal court judge Jimmy DeLeon grew up in West Philadelphia and currently resides in the Germantown neighborhood of the city.

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

My administration as Mayor will address the mental health and emotional wellness needs of Philadelphia by convening a blue-ribbon panel of experts in the mental and behavioral health fields. They would recommend the best practices that citizens can individually follow, which can be accomplished in the workforce, to meet these needs.

My administration would then disseminate this information throughout the City through various public service announcements and a full city-sponsored campaign on steps to improve a person’s mental health and emotional well-being.

City-funded health centers would give free assistance to citizens who may require help in these areas.

My vision on how we can build stronger relationships among and within families and communities is by encouraging families throughout the City to:

  • Develop partnerships with community organizations and agencies
  • Take part in community activities
  • Attend workshops and seminars within and around their community
  • Join community organizations

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.

My plan to make mental health care assessable to all Philadelphians is through:

  • Task shifting by using Physician assistants (Pas) with special training in mental health assessment and counseling
  • Integration of primary care physicians with front-line mental health practitioners and screening processes as patients most often interact with the health care system through their primary care physician
  • Technology-based tools, such as video conferencing, to hold mental health visits, as well as software-based tools that deliver standard cognitive-behavioral health therapy can also help in the mental health regard

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.

As Mayor, I plan on addressing the growing mental health crisis that youth face by launching a city-wide campaign directed towards families to:

  • Have their children model good self-care habits
  • Help young people cultivate safe and caring relationships
  • Support young people to build healthy relationships with peers and to navigate peer pressure demands successfully
  • Talk to their children openly about substance abuse and its effects on youth mental health
  • Having young people receive health care checkups that include an assessment on that child’s emotional and behavioral health needs along with addressing the child’s physical wellbeing
  • Observe the child’s behavior
  • Prevent access to firearms and prescription medications
  • Know who to call for a mental health crisis

DBHIDS will provide the following:

  • Focusing on the prevention of mental health challenges through education
  • Being aware of the many ways in which mental health challenges manifest
  • Involving family in the prevention and treatment of mental health issues
  • Collaborating with other professionals within multi-disciplinary teams
  • Offering culturally sensitive care

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

Philadelphia Mayoral Candidate David Oh on the Mental Health Crisis

Philadelphia Mayoral Candidate Rebecca Rhynhart on the Mental Health Crisis

Philly Mayoral Candidate Helen Gym on the Mental Health Crisis