girl with brown hair and striped shirt smiles against orange and white backgroundStudents today are experiencing the highest rate of depression and anxiety than ever before.

To raise awareness and normalize the conversation around the issue, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Education Committee held a meeting to discuss mental health in schools on January 17, 2024, 

United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley’s Director of Community Resilience Ashi Singh joined a panel of experts to provide testimonies on trauma-informed education, sharing the success of United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley’s and Resilient Lehigh Valley’s Handle With Care program, which supports students who have been exposed to trauma or violence by improving communication between law enforcement and schools. 

In addition to Singh, the panel included Jayme Banks, Psy.D., MBA, the deputy chief of prevention, intervention and trauma at the School District of Philadelphia; and Joan Evelyn Duvall-Flynn, Ed.D., the chair of the Trauma Informed Education Coalition (TIEC).

During her testimony, Singh had the opportunity to share the program’s background and achievements. Police are trained to identify children at the scene of a traumatic event and deliver a confidential, detail-free “Handle With Care” notice to the child’s school to let educators and administration know the child may need extra care and attention in school.

In 2023, 682 students were supported through Handle With Care communications, an 19% increase from the previous year. Thanks to funds from a PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) grant, Resilient Lehigh Valley built the Handle With Care referral process for law enforcement into the state’s Safe2Say Something system. One benefit of this is that it can be easily replicated across other counties. Resilient Lehigh Valley also created Handle With Care training materials for both law enforcement and educators, including video training and practical tip sheets, which are available on its website. In addition to Handle With Care, Singh shared that Resilient Lehigh Valley trained close to 600 individuals on topics such as trauma and resilience last year. Resilient Lehigh Valley also organized and led conversations with youth about their mental health and wellness.

“In response to this emerging crisis [trauma], Resilient Lehigh Valley launched and supported the implementation of the Handle With Care program within the Lehigh Valley, said Singh.

“Handle With Care is a program that increases communication between law enforcement and schools to better support students exposed to trauma.”

The full committee meeting is available to watch on YouTube:

Part 1:

Part 2:


Empowering First Responders: Officer Resiliency Program

Each day in the line of duty, first responders are exposed to emotional and mental stressors while putting…

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Thanks to Resilient Lehigh Valley’s advocacy, the Handle With Care program is spreading across Pennsylvania 

Trauma is an emotional response to a distressing or disturbing event that overwhelms the individual’s ability to cope….

read More
Handled With Care: One Year In 

Handled With Care: One Year In 

The past year and a half have been a time of unprecedented challenges, building resilience and adapting to…

read More

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