At the top of July 2018, New York State (NYS) required public schools to implement a mental health segment within the curriculum. With the school year now underway, the program will take effect and aim to nurture children’s perception and experience with mental health.
While the learning plan aims to educate young students, it’ll also serve as a learning tool for teachers. At the top of the year, when the mandate was first announced, Glenn Liebman, CEO of NYS Mental Health Association, said to News10, “We’re not looking to be psychiatrists. We don’t want teachers to be clinicians or anything like that. We’re looking for them to have a basic understanding about mental health issues, about signs and symptoms.”
In a statement issued to NBC News, MaryEllen Elia, NYS’s education commissioner, said the new curriculum will help students seek out resources or platforms that assist with mental health. Part of a proposed lesson itinerary will dive into recognizing certain mental health signs early, and dispelling stigmas against those who live with certain conditions.
“When young people learn about mental health and that it is an important aspect of overall health and well-being, the likelihood increases they will be able to effectively recognize signs and symptoms in themselves and others and will know where to turn for help — and it will decrease the stigma that attaches to help-seeking,” Elia said. “It is critical that we teach young people about mental health.”
Per a study conducted by the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, 22.2 percent of students aged 13 to 18 experienced bouts with mental illness.