Great story from Channel 13 in Rochester about the impact of the upcoming
Mental Health Education in Schools Bill.

State looks to address youth suicide with new mental health focus

by Jennifer Lee

Tuesday, February 7th 2017

Kristina Mossgraber was a star athlete in middle school and was voted most
popular by fellow classmates at Nathaniel Rochester Community School Number

Unbeknownst to anyone, Mossgrabber says she was struggling.

“I had a very long period of time of not knowing that I had an underlying
mental illness, and you know keeping it hidden and struggling in silence,”
she told 13WHAM News.

Mossgrabber says her silence lasted for years, until she tried to take her
own life in 2014.

“My long journey culminated in a very serious suicide attempt where I
almost lost my life.”

She says her survival became her wake up call. “It was more than myself –
you know, staying well and everything,” she said. “It was, what can I do to
turn this into something positive for the community, especially kids?”

Mossgraber is now a community educator and special event coordinator for
National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) Rochester.

She runs a program geared for middle and high school students called Ending
the Silence, working with a long list of school districts in the Greater
Rochester Area.

Mossgraber said mental health and suicide wasn’t talked about when she was
growing up, and that could have made a difference for her.

She’s thrilled New York Schools will be mandated to teach mental health
starting in 2018. Teaching about alcohol, drugs, tobacco and cancer
prevention and detection are also part of the mandate.

Statistics show suicide is the number cause of death for middle school

Tony Hess of Hillside Family of Agencies supports teaching mental health in
schools. “We want everyone involved. Suicide is everyone’s business when we
can all be aware and alert we can make a difference. We can end these
deaths that are happening.”

Hess said it’s critical to educate everyone about the signs and symptoms of
mental illness. The more people are educated, Hess said, the higher the
chance of getting help and support to a person struggling with thoughts of

“”It tends to be a taboo subject, but I think the more attention you can
bring the better,” said parent Jason Pries of Henrietta. “Especially today
with social media and everything like that. I think there’s probably more
of a need for it.”

If you or someone you know needs help, the National Suicide Prevention
Lifeline is open 24/7 and their number is 1-800-273-8255 <(800)%20273-8255>.

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