Aug 19, 2018, Buffalo (NY) News: New state law heightens focus on students' mental health https://buffalonews.com/2018/08/19/new-york-state-schools-aim-to-remove-the-stigma-around-mental-health/ When students return to classes next month, they can expect to have more counseling services at their disposal as well as trained teachers keeping a closer eye on their mental health. A new state law requires it. The law, signed on July 1, requires New York State elementary, middle and high schools to provide mental health education as part of their health curriculum …. Schools can choose their own approach. The law does not mandate a specific curriculum, said Amy Molloy, director of education for the Mental Health Association in New York State. Buffalo schools, for example, are expanding trauma-informed care training to help teachers in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades understand how trauma affects people. Niagara Falls schools are adding more school psychologists and hiring social workers. The Tonawanda City School District has added a peer mentorship program to address mental health and drug and alcohol abuse. Mark Laurrie, superintendent of the Niagara Falls School District, said he saw the urgency for mental health education after seeing the alarming statistics from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey his school district conducted in November 2015. Nearly 15 percent of the Niagara Falls students who filled out the survey said they seriously considered attempting suicide and 10.4 percent said they attempted suicide during the 12 months before the survey…. Part of what drove the new legislation is the growing mental health problems among children, with one in every five adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 living with a mental health condition, according to the National Institute of Mental Health…. School districts are also recognizing the pivotal role of teachers and school staff in students' mental health and are expanding training for student staff so they can respond to warning signs and ask the right questions to students about mental health…. For example, Buffalo public schools are extending staff training efforts by providing Trauma Informed Care training to teachers of grades four to six this year, and extending it to other grade teachers over the next two years. The training will focus on learning to understand where trauma and stress come from, and how it impacts individuals. In addition, the Niagara Falls City school trained its teachers in the spring and summer and will continue training in the fall. …
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Children today are noticeably different from previous generations, and the proof is in the news coverage we see every day. This site shows you what’s happening in schools around the world. Children are increasingly disabled and chronically ill, and the education system has to accommodate them. Things we've long associated with autism, like sensory issues, repetitive behaviors, anxiety and lack of social skills, are now problems affecting mainstream students. Blame is predictably placed on bad parenting (otherwise known as trauma from home).
Addressing mental health needs is as important as academics for modern educators. This is an unrecognized disaster. The stories here are about children who can’t learn or behave like children have always been expected to. What childhood has become is a chilling portent for the future of mankind.
Anne Dachel, Media editor, Age of Autism
(John Dachel, Tech. assist.)
What will happen in another 4 years? How can we go on like this? This is a national (and international) problem of monumental proportions. We have an entire new class of children who cannot be accommodated by the system: many are manifestly neurologically impaired. Meanwhile, the government and the medical profession sleep on regardless.
UK media editor, Age of Autism
The generation of American children born after 1990 are arguably the sickest generation in the history of our country.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
It seemed to me that with rising autism prevalence, you’d also see rising autism costs to society, and it turns out, the costs are catastrophic.
They calculated that in 2015 autism cost the United States $268 billion and they projected that if autism continues at its current rate, we’re looking at one trillion dollars a year in autism costs by 2025, so within five years.
Toby Rogers, PhD, Political economist
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