State Rep. Jason Dawkins released the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s remarks regarding Rep. Kevin Boyle:
“Gov. Wolf today called for our colleague, state Rep. Kevin Boyle of Philadelphia, to step down amid his arrest for harassment and violation of a protection from abuse order. These are serious issues and will be dealt with by Kevin and his family.
“While not an excuse, it’s important to know that Kevin is dealing with mental health issues and is presently seeking treatment. The governor graciously indicated that Kevin deserves to have treatment for mental health issues but said, ‘I think while he goes through that treatment, he should not serve in the legislature.’
“The governor’s statements lack sympathy, genuine concern and an overall understanding of what people with mental health issues, and their families, go through. Philadelphia has more than 17% of adults diagnosed with a mental health condition, with the next-highest counties coming in at 15% and below. Philadelphians also average more days of poor mental health than the state or national average.
“The governor also missed the opportunity to talk about what we need to do to stem the ever-growing tide of those suffering from mental health conditions. We could certainly be putting more support, financial and otherwise, behind local and statewide programs to help those suffering from mental health conditions. Governors have amazing powers to address societal concerns and ills, and many times Gov. Wolf has stepped up and done just that in the past. We will continue to hope that everyone involved in this story is able to come out healthier, happier and better citizens.”
Anyone suffering from a mental health crisis in Philadelphia is encouraged to call 215-685-6440 any time of day. Pennsylvanians may also use the support and referral helpline at 855-284-2494. ••