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Hochul announces $20 million to expand mental health services in NY schools

Governor Hochul launches expansion of school-based mental health clinics to combat youth mental health crisis.
Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul
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Flickr
Governor Hochul launches expansion of school-based mental health clinics to combat youth mental health crisis.

Gov. Kathy Hochul launched on Tuesday an expansion of school-based mental health programs in New York. This is part of a commitment Hochul made during her State of the State address to improve youth mental health services provided.

“Helping young people deal with these challenges now, whether it's depression or sadness… or self-body image challenges, whatever they're dealing with now, if we can solve it now and help them have the coping skills now, they’ll lead a better life, a healthier life,” Hochul said.

Hochul announced $20 million in start-up funding for school-based clinics. The application will be on a rolling basis, which she said will make it easier for schools interested in opening a satellite clinic to access state funding.

New school satellite clinics could automatically be eligible to receive $25,000 to get the clinic up and running. Schools considered high needs, with more than half of the students coming from economically disadvantaged households, could be eligible for an additional $20,000.

The expansion includes the creation of the governor's Youth Mental Health Advisory Board, which will consist of high school and middle school students with an interest or personal experience with mental health issues. The application for the advisory board is now open.

The board became a priority after last year’s youth mental health listening tour. Young New Yorkers told Hochul that they wanted their voices to be heard.

Hochul, pointing to social media as a major contributing factor to the rise in youth mental health issues, is also advocating for the Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation for Kids Act, known as the SAFE Act for Kids, which regulates the potentially addictive social media feeds of minors without parental consent.

Maya Duclay is a news intern at WSHU for the spring of 2024.