July 15, 2018: Disability Pride NYC

NYAPRS News: Join Community Access and many other organizations, families and friends at the 2018 Disability Pride NYC Parade.

The theme of this year’s parade is Creativity. Everyone is encouraged to decorate clothes, hats, wheelchairs, hair, faces, floats, make puppets, wear costumes, – use your imagination – have fun! Awards will be handed out for most creative ideas”.  There will be an end-of-parade party on 14th street, with free giveaways and food to purchase.

What: Cheer along and observe parade with Community Access /NYAPRS.

Water and snacks provided.

Loads of informational booths, a live band, and plenty of giveaways.

When: Sunday, July 15, 2018

Time: 11:00 a.m.

Where: Meet at Broadway and 19th street near AMC Loews Theatre

All Trains to 14th Street Union Square - 4,5, and 6

Wheelchair accessible trains - L, N, Q, R

Anyone using Access A Ride will be provided with a code.

Get a free T-Shirt the day of the Parade! There will be an end-of-parade party on 14th street, with free giveaways and food to purchase.

Call Carla Rabinowitz at 212-780-1400 x7726, crabinowitz@communityaccess.org

For more information about Disability Pride NYC

http://disabilitypridenyc.org/2018-disability-pride-parade-july-15/

July 20th 2PM Sharp: Peer Recruitment Open House

NYAPRS News:  HEAT is a new program to engage and support clients in the community, referred by the NYPD, FDNY, Parks Department. Each team includes a coordinator and peer health navigator.  The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is currently recruiting for 16 peer health navigators to join the new Health Engagement and Assessment Team (HEAT).  Meet with DOHMH to learn more about this new, exciting program and employment opportunities for peers.  Bring your resume!  Food will be served.  To reserve your space, please phone or email Carla Rabinowitz at 212-780-1400 x7726 or crabinowitz@communityaccess.org

Peer Recruitment Open House

Friday, July 20, 2018
Time: 2:00 pm

Location: Community Access Office
17 Battery Place, 13th floor
1, R train to Rector Street, 4,5 to Bowling Green


HEAT Vacancies:

  1. HEAT Health Navigators (16) to provide field-based, peer support, health and mental health related services to people identified by other first responders as requiring a health intervention.
    (2 shifts: 7am-3pm and 3pm-11pm)

Important Information:

  1. Start Date: All staff will be expected to assume their new roles effective Monday, October 15th, 2018
  2.  Shifts:
    • Staff working in HEAT will be assigned one of two shifts that will be operational 7 days a week, including weekends and holidays (7am-3pm & 3pm-11pm)
    • Assigned work week schedules will either be Sunday – Thursday or Tuesday – Saturday. All staff will be expected to staff other shifts as needed.
  3. Uniforms: all staff will be required to wear DOHMH issues uniforms.
  4. Driver’s License:  Driver’s license preferred but not exclusively required for this role.
  5. Work Location: HEAT staff will be based at the DOHMH Public Health Lab on 455 1st Ave, New York, NY 10016

 Don’t forget – be prepared with resume in hand.

REGISTER NOW FOR NEXT WEEK'S EVENT! Confronting Health Inequity Event in Albany!

NYAPRS Note: Don’t miss out on this important and stimulating one day event! There is still time to register for next week’s health inequities event in Albany!

For racial and ethnic minorities in the United States, health disparities take on many forms, including higher rates of chronic disease and premature death compared to the rates among whites. To create a system where everyone gets what they need to be healthy, safe, and happy, we must be brave and confront the driving forces that deter us from having equitable outcomes for all. NYAPRS and our partners at the McSilver Institute and CCSI share a conviction to present this conference’s focus on the impact of racism on health and wellness.   Participants will be asked to give themselves permission to indulge in the often uncomfortable experience of changing our minds!

 CLICK HERE to register


 
 
 
 Click Image to Download PDF of Agenda

Click Image to Download PDF of Agenda

 

LESS THAN TWO WEEKS LEFT TO GO- July 18: Confronting Health Inequity Event in Albany!

NYAPRS Note: There is still time to register-only two weeks left before our health inequities event in Albany!

For racial and ethnic minorities in the United States, health disparities take on many forms, including higher rates of chronic disease and premature death compared to the rates among whites. To create a system where everyone gets what they need to be healthy, safe, and happy, we must be brave and confront the driving forces that deter us from having equitable outcomes for all. NYAPRS and our partners at the McSilver Institute and CCSI share a conviction to present this conference’s focus on the impact of racism on health and wellness.   Participants will be asked to give themselves permission to indulge in the often uncomfortable experience of changing our minds!

Registration now openCLICK HERE to register – Don’t miss out on this important and stimulating one day event!


 
 
 
 Click Image to Download PDF of Agenda

Click Image to Download PDF of Agenda

 

July 25, 2018: Unique Housing Needs of Individuals with Criminal Justice Histories

NYAPRS Note: Individuals returning to the community from jail or prison must overcome significant barriers in obtaining and maintaining housing in the community. The final webinar of the People with Lived Experience Spotlight Series, moderated by LaVerne Miller, BA, J.D. on behalf of SAMHSA’s Homeless and Housing Resource Network, will discuss strategies for stable housing. The webinar features peers with a history of involvement in the criminal justice system identifying what strategies and supports were most helpful to them in their efforts to obtain permanent and affordable housing. Register Now

SAMHSA_Webinar_06.jpg

NYAPRS Annual Conference: Have You Registered Yet?

NYAPRS News:  Registration is open for the NYAPRS Annual Conference, to be held September 12-14 at a new site this year at the Honor’s Haven Resort in Ellenville. The Honor’s Haven, which has long been a very popular alternative site to the nearby Hudson Valley Resort, will allow us to offer all of the special events and atmosphere that thousands have loved for so long and much more, in the same Catskills Mountain environment and for the same one-price-for-all arrangement.

This year’s theme, “Dignity, Recovery and Social Justice for All” reflects the key values and aims of our ever expanding community. It seeks to underscore that, ultimately, there can be no full recovery without achieving both a personal sense of dignity and an explicit commitment to address the injustices of all forms of discrimination, poverty, racism, criminalization, hunger and homelessness.  We are proud to announce that Pat Deegan, who coined the term ‘the dignity of risk’ almost 2 decades ago, will be a featured keynote speaker in an ever growing lineup of inspiring thought and innovation leaders that will include Leah Harris, Chacku Mathai and Sacha Altman duBrul and will once more bring back our hilarious and touching Stand Up for Mental health comedy show. Click the link for a closer look at the Honors Haven Resort, Conference Registration and accommodation details forms https://rms.nyaprs.org/event/?page=CiviCRM&q=civicrm/event/info&reset=1&id=28 or click here to Register Now!

LESS THAN TWO WEEKS LEFT TO GO- July 18: Confronting Health Inequity Event in Albany!

NYAPRS Note: There is still time to register-only two weeks left before our health inequities event in Albany!

For racial and ethnic minorities in the United States, health disparities take on many forms, including higher rates of chronic disease and premature death compared to the rates among whites. To create a system where everyone gets what they need to be healthy, safe, and happy, we must be brave and confront the driving forces that deter us from having equitable outcomes for all. NYAPRS and our partners at the McSilver Institute and CCSI share a conviction to present this conference’s focus on the impact of racism on health and wellness.   Participants will be asked to give themselves permission to indulge in the often uncomfortable experience of changing our minds!

Registration now openCLICK HERE to register – Don’t miss out on this important and stimulating one day event!


 
 
 
 Click Image to Download PDF of Agenda

Click Image to Download PDF of Agenda

 

July 4th, 2018, the 242nd Anniversary of Our Declaration of Independence

NYAPRS Note: As this 242nd anniversary of our Declaration of Independence nears the thought of NYAPRS 2018 Conference theme “Dignity, Recovery and Social Justice for All” reflects the key values and aims of our ever expanding community. It seeks to underscore that, ultimately, there can be no full recovery without achieving both a personal sense of dignity and an explicit commitment to address the injustices of all forms of discrimination, poverty, racism, criminalization, hunger and homelessness.  It is with this in mind that a wish for a safe and thoughtful 4th of July is sent to all.

Remember Independence Day!

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

hen in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.


Alert: Healthcare/SCOTUS 800 Number LIVE

NYAPRS Alert: This message from the National Association of County Behavioral Health & Developmental Disability Directors is of the utmost importance to us all.  (Please follow the prompts explained below for successful results)

Healthcare/SCOTUS 800 Number LIVE. 

We just put up an 800# to help get calls into Senators right now focused on stopping a SCOTUS nominee that could take away people's healthcare. Obviously, having calls go in early and immediately is extremely important to setting the stage on this fight.  

Please feel free to use or share this phone number: 1-866-426-2631

Below is the call script for your reference and of course reach out with any questions.

Call Script:

"Thank you for calling the healthcare security hotline. In a moment you will be connected with your Senator.

‘After months of trying to repeal healthcare, President Trump and Republican Senate Leadership are now planning to appoint a Supreme Court Justice who could take healthcare away from millions of Americans. There is a case right now working through the courts that would take away the protections for people with pre-existing conditions. If Justice Kennedy is replaced by a more conservative justice, then the ACA’s pre-existing condition protections, the ability of people to get Medicaid --or even worse the entire law--could be at risk.

  • We must demand senators get real answers from nominees about where they stand on issues of the day. Any nominee must demonstrate a commitment to healthcare for all Americans.

‘To be connected to your Senator, please enter your five-digit zip code, followed by the pound or hash sign.”

WAIT FOR KEYPRESS.

“We’ll transfer you now.  Thank you for making your voice heard, and please remember to tell the person who answers the phone:

  • I’m urging you to vote no on any Supreme Court nominee who would take healthcare away from millions.

MHANYS: New State Law Ensures Mental Health Education in Schools

NYAPRS News: NYAPRS would like to congratulate Glenn Liebman and his extraordinary team at the Mental Health Association New York (MHANYS) for their victory in getting the mental health education in schools legislation passed, signed and funded.  This is the first-in-nation law requiring all elementary, middle and high schools in New York State now include mental health, as part of existing physical health instruction, in their education curriculum. MHANYS received grant funding from NYS Legislature and the Governor to launch the School Mental Health Resource and Training Center.  The Center was created to support schools’ ability to comply with Chapter 390 of the Laws of 2016.  All elementary, middle, and high schools in the state must begin teaching about mental health as part of the school health curricula (The Center will focus primarily on helping schools identify resources, develop mental health curricula and provide guidance to support schools’ ability to comply with the required mental health education of students.  To further support the efforts of schools, the Center will provide mental health training for staff and provide schools with assistance in establishing community partnerships to meet the mental health services needs of students and families. Mental health should always be discussed openly and honestly, without stigma, humiliation, retaliatory action or fear   We have confidence that MHANYS will do their extreme best in this education process and  preserve the dignity and rights of students learning more than before about mental health and the role it has in whole health and wellness.  We will continue to share ongoing educational efforts as our friends at MHANYS do their part to ensure mental health education is provided in classrooms across New York State effective as of July 1, 2018. 

About Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc.

The Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc. (MHANYS) is a nonprofit organization that works to end the stigma against mental illness and promotes mental health wellness in New York State. MHANYS achieves this through training, education, advocacy and policy, community-based partnership programming, and by connecting individuals and families to help. Following its successful efforts to secure approval of a law requiring mental health instruction in schools, MHANYS is now establishing the School Mental Health Resources and Training Center to facilitate effective implementation of the new law. Across the state, MHANYS has 26 regional MHA affiliates that are active in 50 counties. For more information, visit https://mhanys.org/. The state's mental health association hopes this education will help end stigma and increase awareness. 

“This is an unprecedented day in the history of public awareness about mental health and public education in New York State. This landmark legislation that led New York State to be the first in the nation to create a mandate for mental health education in schools is operational as of today.  For information about the new law, resources and implementation, please go to the MHANYS site dedicated to the School Mental Health Resource and Training Center, www.mentalhealthednys.org



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New State Law Ensures Mental Health Education in Schools

This first-in-nation law takes effect July 1

Mental Health Association in New York State prepares resource and training center to help school districts teach mental health to students

ALBANY, N.Y.; JULY 2, 2018—A new state law that will ensure mental health education is provided in classrooms across New York State goes into effect July 1, 2018, the Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc. (MHANYS) announced today.

MHANYS led a persistent, five-year legislative advocacy effort that rallied mental health professionals and advocates in communities across the state in order to urge lawmakers to approve the legislation, which Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law in September 2016.

“This groundbreaking law lays the path to better health for all New Yorkers,” said Glenn Liebman, CEO of MHANYS. “While first starting in schools, we believe that ultimately this law will have a far-reaching effect for communities across New York State.”

This first-in-nation law requires that all elementary, middle and high schools in New York State now include mental health, as part of existing physical health instruction, in their education curriculum. It will advance the movement to expand mental health literacy among young people statewide.

By emphasizing mental health literacy, schools can prepare students with lifelong skills to understand mental health and wellness and increase their awareness of when and how to access treatment or support for themselves or others.

“Unrecognized, untreated and late-treated mental illness elevates the risk of mental health crises such as suicide and self-injury. Early treatment enhances potential for recovery and also diminishes negative coping behaviors such as substance abuse,” Liebman added. “Empowering young people with knowledge will have a powerful impact in helping them protect and preserve mental health and wellness for themselves and their peers.”

Approximately one in five adults in the U.S. lives with a mental illness. Additionally, about half of all chronic mental health conditions begin by age 14, half of all cases of anxiety disorders begin as early as age 8, and about 22 percent of youth aged 13-18 experience serious mental disorders in a given year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

NYS Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “By introducing mental health education at age appropriate levels from elementary through high school, mental health will be normalized just as physical health is, stigma will be reduced and children and parents will learn about prevention and when and how they should ask for help. Through education, we can change people’s perception of mental illness, and encourage future generations to ask for help if they’re feeling depressed or anxious as easily as they ask for help for an injured leg or a sore throat.”

“The public is finally coming around to the notion that to properly address mental health issues, we must first acknowledge and openly discuss them,” said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “The Board of Regents, the Education Department and I are fully committed to this effort. Together with many partners across many disciplines we are working to promote mental health literacy and awareness in New York’s schools. We will soon provide our schools with resources – developed together with the NYS Office of Mental Health and MHANYS – on mental health instruction that extends beyond the classroom, to promote a climate of wellness that enhances the whole child, the whole school and the whole community.”

New York’s law is the first in the nation to require mental health instruction in schools, and many mental health professionals expect others states to follow New York’s lead. Great interest has been generated across the country in modeling New York’s legislation.

The new law enacts the mental health education requirement, but does not mandate a specific curriculum. That’s why MHANYS is taking action to help schools implement their own mental health curricula and serve as a resource for ongoing support.

MHANYS will soon launch the School Mental Health Resource and Training Center, which will be available to all public and private schools statewide to help with effective implementation of the new law at the local level. 

The Center, which is supported through grant funding from the New York State Legislature and Governor, will provide assistance and guidance through an online platform, a hotline for school districts and a team of experts in education and mental health. Additionally, the Center will offer mental health training for staff and help schools establish community partnerships to meet the mental health needs of students and families. Starting immediately, schools can contact the Mental Health Training and Resource Center with questions or requests for assistance at schools@mhanys.org.

The School Mental Health Resource and Training Center’s website will be live starting July 1 at www.mentalhealthednys.org, and its full services will be launched later this summer. MHANYS is building its dedicated team of experts to staff the Center and adding in-depth content to the online platform, which will house lesson plans and information on mental health resources and the new law. Further details about Center will be announced in the coming weeks.

Coming to New York classrooms: Lessons on mental health

Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau, June 29, 2018

ALBANY - When students return to school this fall, there will be a new lesson for them to learn: how to deal with mental-health issues.

A state law adopted in 2016 goes into effect July 1 that requires school districts to provide mental-health education as part of its health courses.

Mental-health groups and lawmakers pushed for years to make the measure law, saying students in elementary through high school should get a better understanding of the aspects of mental health.

Gov Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law in September 2016. 

“This groundbreaking law lays the path to better health for all New Yorkers,” said Glenn Liebman, CEO of the Mental Health Association in New York State.

“While first starting in schools, we believe that ultimately this law will have a far-reaching effect for communities across New York state.”

Advocates said the new law is the first of its kind in the nation and will help students better understand mental health, how to recognize problems they or others are facing and how to get treatment.

The state Education Department said it will soon provide schools with guidance on how to incorporate lessons on mental health into their curriculum, said MaryElla Elia, the state education commissioner.

“The public is finally coming around to the notion that to properly address mental health issues, we must first acknowledge and openly discuss them,” Elia said in a statement provided by the Mental Health Association.

Supporters of the law noted that one in five adults in the U.S. are believed to be afflicted with mental illness, and about half of the cases start during a person's teenage years, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

The new law requires mental-health education, but does not mandate specific curriculum, according to the Mental Health Association.

So the non-profit group received a $1 million state grant to develop the School Mental Health Resource and Training Center that will serve as a clearinghouse for schools on how to develop mental-health lessons.

https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/politics/albany/2018/06/29/coming-new-york-classrooms-lessons-mental-health/746460002/

Teachers mandated to add mental health training to curriculum

By Vince Briga  |  June 27, 2018

ENDWELL, N.Y. It's a topic that's at the forefront of the nation's conversation.

The issue of mental health among students has been debated, but New York is taking action. Starting July 1st, all health teachers in the state are mandated to add mental health education to their curriculum. "If you can get as much information to the youth and to kids and to teachers, then the chances are that there's going to be much more of an ability to seek treatment if you need treatment or just to find more information about mental health in general," said Glenn Liebman New York State Mental Health Association CEO. Students in grades K through 12 will be taught about the warning signs and what to do if they experience any mental health issues.  "We're not trying to really dig deep. It's not psychology 101 or anything like that, it's just a basic knowledge about mental health, about anxiety and depression and suicide prevention," said Liebman.

With teen suicide rates spiking, mental health experts say it's important to get this message out early on. "The sooner we're able to identify an individual who may be struggling, the better off we're going to be able to help them to lead healthy productive lives," said Keith Leahey, Mental Health Association of the Southern Tier Executive Director. The state's mental health association hopes this education will help end stigma and increase awareness.  "If they have questions they can go to a mental health professional in the school, a teacher, a close friend, someone who they can confide in about their mental health issues,” said Liebman.

New York becomes the first state in the nation to pass such a law. The state of Virginia also passed a similar law, requiring 9th and 10th grade teachers to add mental health to their curriculum.

http://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/binghamton/news/2018/06/27/mental-health-education


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Stateline Article June 15, 2018

By: Christine Vestal Topics: Health & Education  

Amid sharply rising rates of teen suicide and adolescent mental illness, two states have enacted laws that for the first time require public schools to include mental health education in their basic curriculum.

Most states require health education in all public schools, and state laws have been enacted in many states to require health teachers to include lessons on tobacco, drugs and alcohol, cancer detection and safe sex.

Two states are going further: New York’s new law adds mental health instruction to the list in kindergarten through 12th grade; Virginia requires it in ninth and 10th grades.

Nationwide, cities and states have been adopting a variety of initiatives over the past decade to address the rising need for mental health care in schools.

But until this year, mandated mental health education had not been part of the trend.

“We’re seeing a huge increase in youth anxiety and depression,” said Dustin Verga, a high school health teacher in Clifton, New York, who was an early advocate for the state’s new law.

“We teach them how to detect the signs of cancer and how to avoid accidents, but we don’t teach them how to recognize the symptoms of mental illness,” Verga said. “It’s a shame because, like cancer, mental health treatment is much more effective if the disease is caught early.”

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this month shows the U.S. suicide rate rose by a quarter between 1999 and 2016. That and two celebrity deaths this month — those of fashion designer Kate Spade, 55, and chef Anthony Bourdain, 61 — have raised the nation’s consciousness about depression and suicide prevention.

But mental illness can set in much earlier than adulthood. More than half of lifetime mental illnesses begin before age 14, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Yet the average person waits 10 years after the first symptoms occur before getting treatment.

Nearly 9 percent of youth in grades nine through 12 said that they attempted suicide in the past year.

By educating children of all ages about mental health, the hope is that they will learn how to recognize early symptoms in themselves and their friends and seek help before a crisis develops, said Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of Mental Health America, a nonprofit that advocates for better mental health care.

“People are talking more about youth mental health and the effects of trauma on kids, but it’s taken a long time to get traction. I think what we’ve seen recently in terms of school shootings is spurring this,” Gionfriddo said. “It wouldn’t surprise me to see a number of states go in the same direction over the next few years,” he said, referring to New York and Virginia.

The rate of adolescents experiencing major depression surged nearly 40 percent from 2005 to 2014, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, rising to an estimated 2.2 million depressed children ages 12 to 17, according to the most recent federal data.

Teen suicides also have spiked. According to the CDC, the suicide rate among boys ages 15 to 19 increased by nearly a third between 2007 and 2015; the suicide rate among girls the same age more than doubled. 

But that only accounts for the deaths. Nearly 9 percent of youths in grades nine through 12 attempted suicide in the past year, according to the CDC’s 2015 Youth Risk Behaviors Survey.

In response, many states have increased funding for school counseling and added psychologists to their health staffs. Others are thinking of doing the same. Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this month recommended adding more counselors to schools following a mass shooting at a Santa Fe school. His is one of 20 states that don’t require school counselors. And most states have adopted so-called mental health first aid programs to train first responders, primary care physicians, teachers and other school personnel to detect the signs of mental illness and addiction and provide preventive measures including referral to treatment.

In addition, a slim majority of states mandate suicide prevention training for school personnel, and close to a dozen states require annual courses. More than a dozen states encourage and facilitate training, but do not require it.

Different Paths

In New York, it was a nonprofit mental health group that came up with the idea of requiring schools to educate students about mental illness in all grades. That was seven years ago.

The Legislature was immediately interested, said John Richter, the public policy director for the Mental Health Association in New York State Inc. “The problem was finding a way to cut in line ahead of dozens of other competing educational issues.”

It was the opioid crisis and its strong connection with mental illness that ultimately allowed the New York Assembly’s education committee to bring the mental health bill to a vote in 2016, Richter said. Armed with research showing that people with mental conditions often self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, the chairman found an eager audience of lawmakers who wanted to do everything they could to quell the overdose epidemic, he said.  

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, people with a mood or anxiety disorder are more than twice as likely to develop an addiction to opioids and other drugs.

New York’s law doesn’t prescribe a specific classroom curriculum for mental health, leaving the details up to the board of education. But the state is giving $1 million a year to the mental health association to offer an online mental health resource center and free training services for teachers starting in July.

In the fall, New York public school teachers will be encouraged to incorporate the topic of mental illness into subjects such as science, literature, history and social studies whenever possible, according to Richter. And health teachers will be called on to develop lesson plans that describe the disease of mental illness, methods of treating it, and healthy coping techniques students can use to protect themselves and their friends from the mounting pressures of school life.

“The life students live today is very different from what it was just 10 years ago,” Clifton’s Verga said. “Technology and social media have taken over. Kids are getting cellphones at an earlier age and facing escalating academic expectations and standardized assessments starting in third grade.”

Leticia Jenkins teaches a ninth-grade health class. Two states now require health teachers to address rising rates of adolescent mental illness in their classrooms