Mental Health Education in Schools

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 and promote healthy development. Youth will learn to identify mental health challenges, develop coping strategies and seek support for self and others.

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 mental health promotion strategies and early intervention can be effective in mitigating 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 – develop self-awareness and self-management skills (i.e. identify emotions, recognize risk factors, practice self-care and build resiliency).
● Relationships – develop healthy relationships to promote mental health through communication skills, empathy, compassion, acceptance, as well as gratitude and forgiveness.
● Resource Management – when to ask for help for self and others, where or who to ask for help and how to ask for help.


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