Families and Caregivers

What Families Need to Know About the NYS Mental Health Education Law

On July 1, 2018 New York State became the first state in the nation to require schools to include mental health instruction in the K-12 health education curriculum. Mental health education focuses on the concept of wellness and understanding mental health as an integral part of overall health. Mental health education is age appropriate and provides students with the knowledge, skills and language to maintain mental wellness, promote healthy development and seek support for self and others when needed.

Why is it important to teach students about mental health?

Approximately half of all lifetime cases of mental health disorders begin by the age of 14, and three-quarters by the age of 24. Research demonstrates that increasing our understanding of mental health, the development of coping strategies and early intervention can be reduce the troublesome effects of mental health conditions and support positive youth development.

 What is included in mental health instruction?

Mental health education aligns with existing health standards and focuses on three key areas:

  • Self-Management – includes identifying emotions, practicing self-care 
  • Healthy Relationships – includes empathy, communication skills, compassion and gratitude.
  • Resource Management – includes when and how to ask for help for self and others.
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