We applaud Senator Jesse Hamilton and Assemblyman Marcus Crespo for
introducing legislation that will make Mental Health First Aid a part of a
continuing education course for teachers. This is consistent with the
prevention work MHANYS and our colleagues have been doing for several years
to advocate for teaching of mental health in schools. We have invited both
Senator Hamilton and Assemblyman Crespo to speak at MHANYS Legislative Day
on March 9th. To register for this free event, go to www.mhanys.org

Listed below is an article from today’s New York Daily News highlighting
the call for this legislation.

EXCLUSIVE: NY lawmakers want teachers trained to spot students with mental
health issues



ALBANY — A pair of state lawmakers from Brooklyn are looking to make
teachers the “first line of defense” in combatting mental health problems
among students.

Assemblyman Marcus Crespo and Sen. Jesse Hamilton plan to unveil
legislation Monday that will require teachers to be instructed in “mental
health first aid” to better spot students with problems and help them
obtain treatment.

“We think this is a way to enhance our outreach and our ability to identify
youth that may need mental health services,” Crespo told the Daily News.
“What better way than to have that first line of defense in our schools.”

Crespo and Hamilton cited studies showing that up to 20% of students suffer
from some sort of mental health disorder, including anxiety and depression.
Teachers, they added, often spend more time with students than their
parents and are in a key position to spot such disorders.

“We look at it as sort of preventative tool,” said Glenn Liebman, chief
executive officer of the Mental Health Association in New York State, which
has endorsed the legislation. “There is no expectation that (teachers) are
going to be clinicians. The expectation will be that they will recognize
that a child is in a mental health crisis and they can refer them to
appropriate services.”

Under the legislation, mental health first aid would be included among
continuing education courses that teachers are required to receive every
five years.

New York State United Teachers, the state’s powerful teachers union, has
not taken a formal position on the bill yet, said spokesman Carl Korn.

“We are in the process of discussing its implications with teachers in the
field, including school psychologists, social workers and guidance
counselors who, along with school nurses, actually deal with mental health
issues on a long-term basis with students,” Korn said.

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