Through the Cracks mental health series: Share your stories and questions

By Brett Sholtis

Untreated or under-treated mental illness is often a driving force behind other public health problems. Through the Cracks aims to look beyond the headlines to find those connections.

It’s a complex topic. From insurance shortcomings and shifting health care industry priorities to the challenges facing minority communities, veterans and women, there’s a lot to explore.

Many people are not getting the care they need. Some wait months to see a doctor. Some cycle through homeless shelters while hoping for admission into a long-term residential care facility. Even those able to find assistance may not get enough time with licensed therapists.

It’s also a story about how taxpayer dollars are being spent. In Pennsylvania, mental health funding has remained stagnant since the mid-1990s. Funds once earmarked for state hospitals are now distributed to private companies to provide mental health services. Through the Cracks is tracking those dollars.

Through the Cracks will draw on experts and first-hand accounts to target problems and break down stigma associated with mental health. Both data-driven and deeply personal, this months-long series aims to spark conversations, question policymakers and health care leaders, and result in measurable improvements for those who need help.

You can help with this project. Ask us your questions or detail your experiences:

This story is part of Transforming Health and PA Post’s mental health series Through the Cracks, which seeks to locate problems in Pa. mental health services and break down stigma by sharing personal accounts. Transforming Health is a partnership of WITF, Capital BlueCross and WellSpan Health.

Brett Sholtis
Brett Sholtis

Brett Sholtis was a health reporter for WITF/Transforming Health until early 2023. Sholtis is the 2021-2022 Reveal Benjamin von Sternenfels Rosenthal Grantee for Mental Health Investigative Journalism with the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism. His award-winning work on problem areas in mental health policy and policing helped to get a woman moved from a county jail to a psychiatric facility. Sholtis is a University of Pittsburgh graduate and a Pennsylvania Army National Guard Kosovo campaign veteran.

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