New York Makes Mental Health Test Classes Mandatory From Age 3

by | November 6, 2018

Thanks to a new law that took effect on July 1, all elementary school, middle school, and high school students will be required to learn about mental health test as part of health education classes. Not only does the new curriculum promote greater understanding of a range of psychological health conditions, but classes will also include exercises in describing feelings, and developing increased emotional intelligence over time. New York is the first U.S. state to require that health education be part of health class curriculum.

While the law will give schools and districts a little leeway in how they design the curriculum and lesson plans and mental health test for students, they aren’t being left to their own devices entirely. Nine key points must be taught including: identifying signs of health issues, resources for help, and the negative stigma that surrounds the illness

mental health test
 Olivier Le Moal/shutterstock

Mental Health Test Classes

The mental health test class is intended to help students better understand emotional and psychological wellness, and help them understand when and where to seek help for themselves and others.

The New York State Mental Health Association said some schools already teach it, but a law mandating the curriculum is long overdue.

“There is a crying need that we felt has been out there for many years,” NYS Mental Health Assoc. CEO Glenn Liebman said.

A need to address health issues in schools, because according to the New York State Mental Health Association, currently, kids might not be getting the help they need.

“For 50 percent of the population, the onset of a mental health issue – anxiety, depression – is age 14,” Liebman said. “When they start to seek services could be up to age 24, so we are looking to help eliminate that gap.”

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) says that “Schools provide a unique opportunity to identify and treat health conditions by serving students where they already are.” NAMI also states that many health conditions start in adolescence. Half of all those living with an illness start experiencing symptoms by age fourteen. One in five young people live with a psychological condition in the U.S. alone, but less than half receive treatment. NAMI further suggests that school-based health services are crucial to providing support and resources for young people, who might otherwise feel isolated if they or a loved one are facing a health crisis.

mental health test

Should I call a depression hotline?

All too often, people who are depressed isolate themselves from those they love or others who may be able to help. Isolation can make depression feel worse and increase the risk that a person will experience suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Helplines are available to those who feel like they need someone to talk to but may not know where to start.

Depression hotlines offer a free and confidential service that is available 24 hours a day to help you start on a path toward healing. Sometimes it can be helpful to express what you are experiencing to another human being, to get your feelings out and lift that burden off your chest.

If your depression has caused you to lose a job, drop out of school, lose touch with family or friends, or if you’ve noticed changes in your sleep and appetite that have not improved, contact one of these free resources to learn more about treating your depression.

SAMHSA’s behavioral health treatment services locator is an easy and anonymous way to locate treatment facilities and other resources, such as support groups and counselors, to treat and manage depression.

If your depression is leading to suicidal thoughts, call the National Hopeline to connect with a depression treatment center in your area. The Hopeline also offers a live chat feature for those who don’t want to (or are unable to) call and can dispatch emergency crews to your location if necessary.

This national hotline is another valuable resource for people whose depression has escalated to suicidal or other harmful thoughts. Their network of crisis centers provide emotional support and guidance to people in distress and are also available via a chat service and a special hotline number for the hearing impaired: 1-800-799-4889.

  • National Youth Crisis Hotline: 1-800-448-4663

This resource provides brief interventions for youth who are dealing with pregnancy, sexual abuse, child abuse, depression and suicidal thoughts. They also provide referrals to local counseling, treatment centers, and shelters.

Julie Nealon

Associate Editor, New York USA | Contactable via [email protected]



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