SCHOOLS MANDATE MENTAL HEALTH EDUCATION
August 6, 2018
New York and Virginia are the first states to require mental health education in public schools. Effective July 1, New York public schools must incorporate mental health into their curricula for kindergarten through grade 12. Under a new Virginia law, the state board of education is required to review and update existing mental health education standards for grades 9 and 10. The New York legislation is the first of its kind in the state, and aims to improve students' mental health, support those at risk for suicide, and promote a healthy school culture. "This is making mental health not a thing that exists outside the school," said David E. Kirkland, executive director of New York University's Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools. "We're thinking about mental health how we think about English, math, or science."
Schools are a key setting for suicide prevention. Teachers, mental health providers, and all other school personnel who interact with students can play an important role in keeping them safe. Advocacy groups like the Jesse Klump Memorial Fund partner with schools to bring mental health training and awareness to classrooms, improving the environment for teaching. A comprehensive mental health curriculum can:
- Contribute to maintaining a safe school environment is part of your school's overall mission,
- Improve student performance, for students' mental health can affect how well they absorb lessons.
The best way to prevent suicide is to use a comprehensive approach that includes these key components:
- Promote emotional well-being and connectedness among all students.
- Identify students who may be at risk for suicide and assist them in getting help.
- Be prepared to respond when a suicide death occurs.
The Jesse Klump Memorial Fund, in partnership with members of the Lower Eastern Shore Suicide Prevention Coalition, offer several paths to mental health training in the classroom. Youth Mental Health First Aid is a one-day course suitable for educators as well as laypeople that teaches the recognition of the warning signs that a child might be struggling with a mental health issue. SOS! Signs of Suicide is an internationally-recognized curriculum that is currently being taught in middle school classrooms in Worcester County. The Jesse Klump Memorial Fund can custom tailor a shorter presentation if a school has a particular need.
This training comes free of cost to the students. Contact Us to learn more, or to schedule a workshop at your school.