New York is the First State to Require Mandatory Mental Health Classes for all Students


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New York becomes the first state to integrate mental health education into their standard school curriculum.

Jasmeen Rivera, Reporter

New York made headlines when it became the first state to require mandatory healthcare classes for all students, starting at the young age of three. Thanks to a new law passed on July 1st, mental health education will be integrated into the basic school curriculum taught to every student this Fall. The mandate of the new law is to help students and adolescences be more aware of “emotional and mental wellness”, and to also be aware of the environment around them.¬†According to the New York Mental Health Advisory Council, the lessons will teach nine key points including signs of mental illnesses and resources for getting help. The curriculum will be taught from preschool all the way to the end of high school and will be included in all schools.

The action taken has been called a “bold move” and has created a “wake-up call” for school systems. It’s been reported that around 40 million people suffer from anxiety disorders in the United States every year. This does not include children, whose numbers are smaller, but data shows that half of the chronic illnesses start by the age of fourteen. “‘When young people learn about mental health and that it is an important aspect of overall health and well-being, the likelihood increases they will be able to effectively recognize signs and symptoms in themselves and others and will know where to turn for help – and it will decrease the stigma that attaches to help-seeking,” states Maryellen Elia, state education commissioner of New York.¬†Many artists have also been affected by mental health, which is bringing attention to the issues and being included in the conversation, including Avicii, Mac Miller, and Demi Lovato.

Many wonder if this move will motivate other states, or if they will stick to the normal school curriculum.