Lessons on mental health coming to New York classrooms

July 02, 2018 07:37 AM

A big change is coming to the classroom.

For the first time ever, mental health education is now required in schools across New York but students may learn different things depending on where you live because currently there are no specific curriculum schools have to follow. 

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The state Department of Education, however, says it will soon provide districts with guidance on how to include lessons on mental health then districts will come up with their own plans.

The requirement is mandated under a new law signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo more than two years ago but it just took effect Sunday. 

The changes will be added to traditional physical education and health classes. The goal is to help students understand emotional and mental wellness, including when to get help for themselves and for others.

"That's really important pieces as it relates to further education because our mental health is part of us just like our physical health is and they function hand and hand," Michael Ranney, the Erie County Mental Health Commissioner says.

Health experts say about one out of every five adults is believed to have some form of a mental illness and about half of all cases start during teenage years.

Glenn Liebman, chief executive of the Mental Health Association of New York State, calls the new law groundbreaking.


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