There have been some excellent articles coming out about the new Mental
Health Education in Schools Legislation. We will share over the next few
days. This article from the Gannett News Service comes from the Rochester
Democrat and Chronicle. Also, look for us tonight on Spectrum News, Capital
Tonight with Liz Benjamin
Coming to New York classrooms: Lessons on mental health
By Joseph Spector
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Albany Bureau
Published 3:23 p.m. ET June 29, 2018
ALBANY – When students return to school this fall, there will be a new
lesson for them to learn: how to deal with mental-health issues.
A state law adopted in 2016 goes into effect July 1 that requires school
districts to provide mental-health education as part of its health courses.
Mental-health groups and lawmakers pushed for years to make the measure
law, saying students in elementary through high school should get a better
understanding of the aspects of mental health.
Gov Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law in September 2016.
“This groundbreaking law lays the path to better health for all New
Yorkers,” said Glenn Liebman, CEO of the Mental Health Association in New
“While first starting in schools, we believe that ultimately this law will
have a far-reaching effect for communities across New York state.”
Advocates said the new law is the first of its kind in the nation and will
help students better understand mental health, how to recognize problems
they or others are facing and how to get treatment.
The state Education Department said it will soon provide schools with
guidance on how to incorporate lessons on mental health into their
curriculum, said MaryElla Elia, the state education commissioner.
“The public is finally coming around to the notion that to properly address
mental health issues, we must first acknowledge and openly discuss them,”
Elia said in a statement provided by the Mental Health Association.
Supporters of the law noted that one in five adults in the U.S. are
believed to be afflicted with mental illness, and about half of the cases
start during a person’s teenage years, according to the National Institute
of Mental Health
The new law requires mental-health education, but does not mandate specific
curriculum, according to the Mental Health Association.
So the non-profit group received a $1 million state grant to develop
the School Mental Health Resource and Training Center that will serve as a
clearinghouse for schools on how to develop mental-health lessons.