Mental health training center for schools gets $500,000 in budget

Photo courtesy of MHANYS

In the final budget passed April 1, the governor and the Legislature allocated $500,000 for a training center designed to help educators develop curriculum for teaching about mental health awareness in public and private schools.

The School Mental Health Resource and Training Center, operated by the Mental Health Association of New York State, had asked for $1 million to operate its website and training programs, which are offered across the state at no cost to educators.

In 2016, Governor Cuomo signed into law a bill that requires schools to include mental health instruction, including the multiple dimensions of mental health, to be taught as part of the required K-12 health education.

The Center helps schools comply with that law.

“We are very appreciative of the Governor’s support and recognition of the importance of mental health in schools,” reads a statement issued following the adoption of the budget. “The Resource Center has served thousands of teachers, administrators, students and families by providing support and greater understanding about mental health and wellness. There has been a great deal done with the funding to date including reaching over sixty percent of New York’s schools.”

However, the statement continues, “We are disappointed that we were unable to get an additional $500,000 to match our funding from last year, but we will continue to raise the visibility of the issue and explore other funding options.”

MHANYs thanked Senate Education Chair Shelly Mayer, and Assembly Education Chair Mike Benedetto for recognizes the importance of mental health education in schools and for being “completely supportive of our goals and vision on this issue.”

“About 70 percent of teens see anxiety and depression as major problems among their peers, according to the Pew Research Center,” said MHANYS CEO Glenn Liebman. “Following New York’s first-in-nation mental health education law, more students are beginning to better understand mental health as well as how and when to ask for help.”

During a recent rally at the Capitol, called Mental Health Matters Day, more than 450 students and mental health professionals from across state to assemble in West Capitol Park and then marched to the steps of the Capitol, calling for further support of mental health education, workforce needs, and housing from the state.

Watch video of the event here

Video produced by Jared Van Houten