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NY law will require mental health education in schools

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ALBANY, N.Y. — New York’s schools will have to teach about mental health in their state-mandated health classes starting next summer.

The law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo takes effect in July 2018.

The 40-year-old mandate for health education already specifically requires teaching about alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and the prevention and detection of cancers.

Sponsors say the new curriculum will increase the likelihood that students recognize the signs of mental illness in themselves and others and seek help when it’s needed.

They say many students with emotional or behavioral disorders drop out of high school.

A federally funded study has estimated that half of Americans will meet the criteria for a mental disorder sometime in their lives, with the first onset usually in childhood or adolescence.