NYS Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force and Support for
Mental Health Education in Schools and Mental Health First Aid/
Sign on to be an advocate for MH Education in Schools

Last week, MHANYS Deputy Director Melissa Ramirez and I had a wonderful
opportunity to present to the New York State Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic
Task Force about Mental Health Education in Schools, Mental Health First
Aid and Suicide Prevention.

The Task Force is clearly vested in mental health education and recognizing
how we must address the age gap between age 14 (onset of first signs and
symptoms of psychiatric problems for 50 percent of individuals) and age 24
(when individuals who get treated start accessing services). Clearly that
ten year age gap dramatically impacts education, vocation, social skills
and much more. By not intervening early, the risk of homelessness,
hospitalization and interactions with the criminal justice system increase
at an alarming rate.

The schools are the common denominator of support for at risk youth. That
is why we continue to address issues of education in schools.

It is clear from our meeting that the Task Force is playing a major role in
making this happen through a series of bills that address mental health
education in schools.

We already continue to advocate strongly for the Mental Health Education
Curriculum bill (A. 3887-A and S.6046) but there are also other ways to
change perceptions about mental health in schools as addressed by several
of the Task Force members and recent legislation they have introduced.

Included among the bills introduced by the members that highlight mental
health education in schools, are:

A9299 (Crespo) and S.6234 (Hamilton)—This legislation would create
mandatory continuing education for teachers related to mental health
issues. Teachers would have to take classes in mental health first aid
before they would be able to receive certification. We continue to speak
out strongly in support of this bill

A 9060 (Crespo) and S.6753 (Hamilton)—This legislation would have the
Commissioner of Education require teachers colleges to provide a course of
Mental Health First Aid prior to student’s graduation. This bill really
provides a great opportunity for incoming teachers to have a greater
understanding of mental health issues through Mental Health First Aid.

A.9673 (Sepulveda) and S.6912 (Hamilton)—This legislation is referred to
as the Urban Youth Gun Violence Reduction Program. This is a pilot project
with 24 schools in 5 districts in Brooklyn. This demonstration project
would include three of the pieces that MHANYS has been advocating for in
schools—1) A Schools Based Mental Health Curriculum, 2) Youth Mental
Health First Aid for all teachers, administrators and staff, 3) More Social
Workers in the Schools.

We strongly support all these important legislative initiatives that
address issues of schools and mental health and we are very appreciative of
the leadership of the New York State Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task
Force in making this a priority.

If you want to join our campaign for mental health education in school than
sign on to our advocacy tool listed below (sign on takes less than a


Glenn Liebman, CEO

Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc.

194 Washington Avenue Suite 415

Albany, NY 12210


(518)434-0439 x 220

Follow us online: www.MHANYS.org

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