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MHANYS Expands Mental Wellness Resources for Families, Educators Amid Anxiety of Unprecedented Back-to-School Season
Through its School Mental Health Resource & Training Center, MHANYS provides mental wellness tools for educators, students, families
ALBANY, N.Y.; AUGUST 19, 2020—Each year, back-to-school season brings added stress into the lives of students, families and educators. This year, amid a global pandemic, anxiety levels are reaching new heights. In response, the Mental Health Association in New York State (MHANYS) is expanding resources available through its School Mental Health Resource & Training Center ahead of the new academic year.
“So many of us have been dealing with elevated levels of stress and anxiety amid the uncertainty of this pandemic. The return to school could further exacerbate the stress, regardless of whether classes happen in person, online or through hybrid settings,” said MHANYS CEO Glenn Liebman. “By learning more about how to support the mental health and wellness of ourselves and those around us, we can find strength in our knowledge and understand how to help when someone we love is struggling.
At its website, mentalhealthednys.org, the School Mental Health Resource & Training Center offers resources targeted to serve educators, students, parents and caregivers. It recently launched a Family Education Webinar Series and held Educator Panels to build on its already robust training programs and community resources database. Additionally, the Center’s online training module, Supporting the Mental Health and Wellness of Students, is available on-demand for school personnel.
Among its upcoming webinars, MHANYS will hold an August 25 session called Supporting Family Mental Wellness: Strategies for Back to School and live webinars on August 27 and September 1 titled Cultivating Educator Resiliency.
A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll quantified parents’ back-to-school worries. If schools reopen for in-person classes, about 70 percent of parents worry their children will get sick. And if students don’t return for in-person instruction, about 70 percent of parents are concerned their child will fall behind on emotional and social development.
“We’ve all been hearing about how stressed teachers are, how worried parents and caregivers are, and how anxious students are – but we have not heard enough conversation about what to do about it,” Liebman added. “The School Mental Health Resource & Training Center is a great place to start. It’s a source of potential solutions to help New Yorkers with their mental wellness this upcoming school year.”
In 2018, New York State enacted a first-in-nation law requiring mental health education in schools. After leading the advocacy to pass the law, MHANYS launched the School Mental Health Resource & Training Center to provide educators and school districts with assistance and guidance as they developed new curriculum and created programs to support student mental health.
While the Center remains focused on mental wellness within New York’s schools, the pandemic’s impact on communities compelled MHANYS to expand its resources and support available to parents and caregivers.
In addition to the Center’s revamped online resources, MHANYS continues to lead trainings and workshops for school communities on several critical topics, such as Mental Health First Aid, school district mental health awareness and suicide prevention. The Center remains responsive to school districts’ needs and can adjust their offerings to align with the experiences of individual schools.
School districts and educators can contact the Center to ask questions or request assistance by email at email@example.com, or by calling 518-434-0439 Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Center can be visited online at www.mentalhealthednys.org.
About Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc.
The Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc. (MHANYS) is a nonprofit organization that works to end the stigma against mental illness and promotes mental health wellness in New York State. MHANYS achieves this through training, education, advocacy and policy, community-based partnership programming, and by connecting individuals and families to help. Following its successful efforts to secure approval of a law requiring mental health instruction in schools, MHANYS established the School Mental Health Resource & Training Center to facilitate effective implementation of the new law. Across the state, MHANYS has 26 regional MHA affiliates that are active in 50 counties. For more information, visit https://mhanys.org/.