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Press Releases

Press Releases from the City of Reading






READING – November 24th: Mayor Eddie Morán announced today he is hosting a weekly mental health webinar series on Tuesdays that will launch on November 30th at 6 p.m.


"Due to the nature of my position, my presence in the community, and previous employment, I know first hand that our community may lack resources, orientation, and support to address their mental health needs," said Mayor Morán. "Consequently, when presented with the opportunity to host this mental health series led by professionals in the field, I committed my team to make it happen.


My goal is for everyone who tunes in to find valuable information so they can better understand their emotions, the resources available to them, and what to do when a crisis erupts in their homes."


"The last eighteen months have been a challenging time for most of us as we have dealt with isolation, grief, loss of housing, employment, and other situations," said partner Honorable Magisterial District Judge Tonya Butler. "All of these changes have led to instability and uncertainty, creating or exacerbating mental health issues. As a result, some people are struggling in silence, and others are doing well with the available resources.


I hope that this mental health series will close the gap and provide hope and guidance to our community; the audience should relate to our panelists and feel comfortable as they are from our community for the most part."


There will be four episodes focused on different topics, beginning Tuesday, November 30th at 6 p.m. The first episode will focus on Mental Health 101, where the panelists will define, discuss, and answer questions about disorders such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar. The format will allow for a few questions from the audience who can join the ZOOM webinar live (not from the Facebook or YouTube comment session).


Registration is required to join each of the webinars. Register at:


MC: Wynton Butler, Director of Social Services for the Reading School District.

Panelists information;


1. Perla Plasencia is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 13 years of experience in the mental health field. Plasencia has worked in several outpatient agencies serving those in need of mental health and drug and alcohol services. Plasencia received her bachelor's from Alvernia University and her master's degree from Kutztown University.


2. Sharon A. Lewis, Ph.D., is a professor of chemistry at Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1996 and has lived with it for 25 years. Dr. Lewis has studied the genes implicated in susceptibility to bipolar and has published two journal articles: "My Five Attributes of Mania" and "Analysis of the Molecular Role of COMT in Bipolar Disorder." She has also written a book on bipolar entitled Consequences of Untreated Bipolar Mania. Dr. Lewis graduated from Howard University with a bachelor of science and directly went into the Army as a Field Artillery Officer. Afterward, she graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a master's and Ph.D. in biochemistry/chemistry.


3. Elizabeth Hernández-Collazo is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and the owner of Innovative Minds Counseling and has over 20 years of experience working in community-based agencies. While she has experience working with adults, her passion is working with adolescents. Hernández-Collazo believes in using a strength-based model because we all have good qualities and sometimes just need help finding out what they are. She received a bachelor of arts from John Jay College and a master's degree in social work from Adelphi University.


Upcoming schedule and topics:

December 7th: Especially For Our Youth: Trauma, Isolation to Socialization

December 14th: Grief: Getting Through the Holidays and Beyond

December 21st: Mental Health and Substance Abuse