Supporting Youth in School and Beyond

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 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.

Individual Education Plan – IEP

An IEP is a legal document (or “plan”) mapping out the type of instruction, support, and services that a student will need to make progress and thrive in the school setting. It is designed to meet a student’s unique needs and is covered by special education law, or the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This reader-friendly article from provides a great overview. Additional information from the New York State Education Department is available at: Individualized Education Program Guidance

Preparing Youth with Mental Health Disorders for College

The transition from high school to college can be stressful for most students but this transition presents unique challenges for students with psychiatric disabilities. provides students with the knowledge and resources they need to succeed. Their free “Guide to College Planning for Psychiatrically Impaired Students” is an excellent source of information in a concise and user-friendly format. It includes apps to help students manage symptoms; wellness strategies; ways to access support on and off campus; strategies for how to approach professors and secure necessary accommodations for classes, assignments; and practical suggestions for campus involvement seem.  In addition, the guide identifies financial scholarships that are available to students with psychiatric disabilities.

For students enrolled in an online education program, offers, “Mental Health Resources for Online College Students“, as well as a number of other resources for learning accommodations.


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