Mental health education becomes mandatory in Virginia and New York schools

Mental health education becomes mandatory in Virginia and New York schools

New York and Virginia are the first states in the United States to make new laws that mandate schools to include mental health education in their curriculums. Recently, the New York legislation directed all K-12 classrooms to include compulsory mental health instruction as part of the overall health curriculum. “By ensuring that young people learn about mental health, we increase the likelihood that they will be able to more effectively recognize signs in themselves and others, including family members, and get the right help,” says the New York law. In Virginia, the new law will come into force this fall, making it obligatory for high school students to study about mental health during their first two years.

Glenn Liebman, CEO of the Mental Health Association in New York State, one of the lead groups that had worked to ensure that the new law sees the light of the day, said, “We didn’t fight for specific curriculum because we recognize that what is taught in one part of the state might not be relevant in another part of the state.” The association came up with nine core concepts that should be included in the mental health curriculum. The core concepts also emphasize on identifying appropriate behavioral and mental health professionals and services, and the “relationship between mental health, substance abuse and other negative coping behaviors.”

Debbie Plotnick, vice president for mental health and systems advocacy at Mental Health America (MHA), described the new laws as a great step in dealing with the nationwide crisis that has devastated the lives of millions of Americans. She hoped that other states would act on similar lines to combat the problem. Applauding the inclusion of mental health in school syllabus, Plotnick said that several young children in the country battle such afflictions without being able to voice their concerns.

Studies show that there is a significant stigma linked to mental health in American society. In fact, this is one of the major reasons why, in an otherwise health-conscious society, mental health generally does not make it to the agenda of public health discourses. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), around 44 million Americans struggle with mental problems in a given year.  Unfortunately, less than half of them receive treatment for their condition.

Mental health problems are treatable

Mental health is an essential aspect of life. Mental ailments like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia can wreak havoc on an individual’s life. They can destroy professional life as well as interpersonal relationships altogether. However, with an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment, most people grappling with mental disorders can learn to regain control of their lives, and to get back to their normal routines.

Studies show that the deepest regret of those suffering from mental ailments is that they never sought preventive screening or timely treatment. The symptoms can leave a negative impact on the social, physical and mental well-being of such individuals. The fact that the U.S. secured the 14th place in the global happiness index 2017, slipping down one spot from 2016, is a clear message that mental well-being is on its way to become a rare commodity nationwide.

Mental health is as important as physical health. If you are suffering from any mental illness, contact the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline that offers credible information about evidence-based treatments available near you. Call our 24/7 mental health treatment helpline number (855) 653-8178 to know about the finest 24/7mental health treatment center in your vicinity. You can also use our live chat service to get in touch with one of our representatives for more information.