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Budget, Education & City Services

Resolution to provide each NYC middle and High school a full-time mental health professional and to implement and evaluate a model mental health curriculum across NYC schools

WHEREAS, Students experience a range of mental health issues ranging from normal developmental stress as well as other symptoms such as anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and eating disorders; and

WHEREAS, 8% of New York City high school students have attempted suicide and 13,000 students report feeling depressed each year; and

WHEREAS, One in five people suffer from a mental health condition which indicates that, with
1.1 million students in the system, the New York City Department of Education has an average
of 220 thousand students with mental health illnesses; and

WHEREAS, Many students do not have ready access to mental health support or a meaningful
understanding of mental health issues; and

WHEREAS, Students face many barriers to getting mental health services including:
transportation, expense, guardian intervention, and social stigma; and

WHEREAS, 50% of mental illnesses begin to develop at age 15 and 75% of mental illnesses
begin to develop by age 24; and

WHEREAS, Mental health significantly impacts students’ academic performance as well as their
social and emotional development; and

WHEREAS, Other systems of support provided by schools, such as guidance counselors, are
insufficient in times of crisis as these individuals are primarily tasked with admissions and
mediation, among other issues; and

WHEREAS, School social workers, mental health counselors and psychologists are trained
mental health professionals who address mental and behavioral health issues, and provide
positive behavioral and emotional support, along with academic and classroom support in
consultation with guardians, teachers and administrators; and

WHEREAS, NYC teachers and administrators have not received basic training on identifying,
discuss and respond to emerging issues related to student mental health; and

WHEREAS, For many students there is a stigma attached to seeking mental health counseling,
making it less likely those suffering will share their emotional concerns with adults or peers; and

WHEREAS, The stigma attached to seeking mental health services is so pronounced people wait
an average of eight years between development of a mental health issue and seeking treatment;

WHEREAS, The National Association of Social Workers recommends a ratio of one school
mental health worker for up to 250 general education students, and a ratio of 1:50 for workers
providing services to students with special needs; and

WHEREAS, The District 2 Middle School Leadership Council (“02 MSCL”) focused on the
issue of student mental health throughout the 2017-2018 school year; and

WHEREAS, The 02 MSLC presented a recommendation to the Community Education Council
02 (CECD2) that each school within District 2 and across New York City be provided stable
dedicated funding for a full-time social worker; and

WHEREAS, The 02 MSLC recommends that each school maintain a 1:100 ratio of social
workers to students; and

WHEREAS, The 02 MSLC further recommend that the DOE implement a mental health
curriculum that helps to socialize mental health issues and provides early-detection training to
teachers and administrators; and

WHEREAS, Student mental health impacts student learning, the school’s social environment and
school safety; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends the Department of Education (DOE) explore
the cost of providing a dedicated funding stream toward a mental health professional in each
NYC school with a ratio of at least one (1) mental health professional for every 250 students;
therefore, be it further

RESOLVED, Community Board Five urges the Department of Education to implement and
evaluate a mental health curriculum that recognizes the impact of negative social and emotional
attitudes toward counseling and therapy and provides training to school-based staff in
identifying and referring cases of students in need of services; and therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five urges the DOE to engage the 02 MSLC in a further
discussion of student mental health and the need to provide adequate mental health services, mental
health literacy and programmatic support.

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