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Mental Health in Schools Whitepaper FINAL

Mental Health in Schools Whitepaper FINAL

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Published by Stephen Levin
Council Member Levin's "White Paper" for Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services Hearing.
Council Member Levin's "White Paper" for Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services Hearing.

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Categories:Types, Letters
Published by: Stephen Levin on May 01, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/16/2014

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Mental Health in New York City Public Schools
Prepared for:
Council Member Stephen Levin; Council Member Oliver Koppell, Chair of theNew York City Council Committee on Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services; Council Member Robert Jackson, Chair of the New York CityCouncil Committee on Education; Council Member Gale Brewer.
Overview:
Across the New York City Department of Education (DOE) system, schools lack theresources to adequately address the mental health needs of the city’s school-aged youth.Untreated mental health conditions place a significant burden on the school system, reducingacademic achievement among both students experiencing emotional and behavioral difficultiesand their classmates, and placing unfair demands on administrators and teachers who lack therequisite training to respond appropriately. Only a fraction of New York City public schools offer comprehensive mental health services of the kind shown to be effective in addressing mentalhealth conditions, improving academic achievement and reducing mental health care costs.
Consequences of untreated mental health conditions among students:
Students withuntreated mental health conditions experience negative academic consequences, includingreductions in test scores, school attendance and graduation rates.
1
Furthermore, according tothe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide was the fourth leading cause of deathamong 11 to 18 year olds in New York State in 2005.
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Additionally, students with mental,emotional, or behavioral disorders contribute to disruptive learning environments that make itdifficult for teachers to manage classrooms.There is additional evidence that mental health conditions disproportionately impacteconomically marginalized populations. The Midtown Manhattan Survey of PsychiatricImpairment in Urban Children in New York City found that children and adolescents fromfamilies receiving public assistance were almost twice as likely to exhibit mental healthdisorders.
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These families are often poorly positioned to ensure proper treatment for their children, and therefore find themselves at the mercy of the available public treatment options.
Mental health care in New York City public schools:
Untreated mental health conditionspose a significant threat to the welfare of New York City youth. Studies suggest that upwards of 20% of children and adolescents experience a mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder eachyear,
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yet only 30% receive treatment.
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With 1.1 million students in the New York City publicschool system, this suggests that over 150,000 New York City public school students strugglewith untreated mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders annually.
1
Center for School Mental Health. (2012). The Impact of School Mental Health: Educational, Emotional,and Behavioral Outcomes. University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Last accessed on April 30, 2012 at:http://csmh.umaryland.edu/Resources/OtherResources/CSMHImpactofSMH.pdf 
2
Outing, Alicia. (April 8, 2009). City School Confronts Mental Health. Columbia Spectator.
3
Center for School Mental Health. (2012). The Impact of School Mental Health: Educational, Emotional,and Behavioral Outcomes. University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Last accessed on April 30, 2012 at:http://csmh.umaryland.edu/Resources/OtherResources/CSMHImpactofSMH.pdf 
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There are significant logistical challenges to the delivery of adequate mental health care for untreated students. DOE claims to house 300 school-based mental health programs,
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but theDepartment’s published list of mental health program locations shows only 261 schools,meaning that fewer than 1 in 6 New York City public schools have access to school-basedmental health programs. Moreover, many of these mental health programs locations servemultiple schools, potentially straining their operations. In total, there are only 203 school-basedmental health programs serving the New York City public school system - almost one-thirdfewer than DOE asserts.
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Expanding mental health care in New York City public schools:
Current operationsnotwithstanding, DOE is well positioned to address the mental health needs of New York Cityyouth. School-based mental health programs currently in operation throughout New York Citypublic schools are a valuable resource for the city’s students. The programs offer a variety of services, including consultations, screenings, assessments and referrals. Such school-basedmental health care programs remove barriers to access, increasing student utilization of metalhealth services relative to non-school-based programs. Indeed, over 95% of students referredfor mental health services in a school setting will seek treatment, compared to only 13% amongthose referred to community health centers.
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 Furthermore, school-based programs result in positive outcomes for students. Students are notonly more likely to receive mental health services in a school setting, but also more likely toimprove academically, with schools reporting fewer course failures and higher grade point
4
National Research Council and Institute of Medicine (2009). Preventing mental, emotional, and behavioraldisorders among young people: Progress and possibilities. M.E. O’Connell, T. Boat, & K.E. Warner (Eds.),Board of Children, Youth, and Families, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education.Washington DC: The National Academies Press.
5
Greenberg, M., et al. (2003). Enhancing school-based prevention and youth development throughcoordinated social, emotional, and academic learning. American Psychologist, 58(6/7), 466-474.
6
NYC Department of Education. School-Based Mental Health Program: Eliminating Barriers to Academic Achievement. Accessed on February 13, 2012 fromhttp://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/Health/SBHC/MentalHealth.
7
NYC Department of Education. List of Mental Health Program Locations (as of January 4, 2012). Accessed on February 13, 2012 from schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/82CD4329-4E30-498C-ACDB-4B287F10FCB8/0/SBMHProviders112.xls.
8
Catron, T., et al. (1998). Posttreatment results after 2 years of services in the Vanderbilt school-basedcounseling project. In M. Epstein, K. Kutash, & A. Ducknowski (Eds.) Outcomes for children and youth withbehavioral and emotional disorders and their families: Programs and evaluation best practices. Austin, TX:Pro- ED, Inc.
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