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State Launches School-Age Youth Mental Health Awareness Program


Governor Kathy Hochul on Tuesday announced a multi-agency collaboration with New York PBS stations to equip prekindergarten-grade 12 educators with resources and strategies they can rely on to support the mental well-being of their students. Produced by The WNET Group with assistance from the state Office of Mental Health and the State Education, Student Mental Health Matters: A Toolkit for Educators is available free online and provides more than 50 digital videos addressing topics specific to youth mental health. 

“New York educators are at the forefront of our efforts to address the youth mental health crisis in our state,” Governor Hochul said. “This unique partnership between public broadcasting and New York State will provide them with resources and strategies they can use to help address student mental health issues they see arising at schools and in classrooms across our state.” 

Launched in recognition of Suicide Prevention Month in New York State and World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10, the toolkit is designed to equip educators, school staff and school-based mental health professionals with critical knowledge and strategies needed to support the mental well-being of their students. The toolkit was developed by The WNET Group –the nonprofit parent company of New York’s flagship station THIRTEEN –with support from the state Office of Mental Health and the State Education Department, in addition to the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network, the National Center for School Mental Health, the Child Mind Institute, and other public media stations.  

The toolkit focuses on five distinct topics that primary and secondary educators often encounter among students: suicide prevention, stress and anxiety, self-harm, adverse childhood experiences, and social media. Each topic includes short videos providing expert perspectives from mental health professionals, school administrators and educators aimed at helping teachers better understand these challenges; student perspectives revealing the lived experience of students; and strategies providing real-world applications for teachers’ practices. 

The toolkit is available free of charge to all educators in New York through PBS LearningMedia, which offers educators access to resources from PBS stations and their partners. Nearly 70,000 educators throughout New York State access these resources each month to complement classroom instruction.

New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “There is a clear connection between addressing mental health challenges in our children today and improving their mental well-being later in life. By providing educators with resources to identify these challenges, we can help them develop strategies to support their students and if needed, to connect them with other mental health assistance. This partnership between New York State and public broadcasting complements Governor Hochul’s continued efforts to address youth mental health in New York State.”

New York State State Education Department Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said, “We must work together to make mental health resources more readily available and accessible for all of New York’s students. Mental health issues are directly connected to students’ ability to have the emotional resilience and stability needed to navigate the challenges of learning and personal growth effectively. Under Governor Hochul’s leadership and in collaboration with our partner agencies, we can keep this issue at the forefront and provide our educators with the tools necessary to address the mental health challenges our students are confronting.”

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