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City Council hearing: School-Based Mental Health Services

The City Council’s Education and Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse, and Disability Services Committees will hold a joint oversight hearing on the topic “School-Based Mental Health Services.” Below is information regarding the upcoming hearing:

Several recent newspaper articles have reported situations where schools have reacted to disruptive students by calling either the police or Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to take the student by ambulance to the emergency room (ER). It’s estimated that thousands of NYC students with mental health problems are referred to emergency rooms from schools each year. Nationally, approximately 20% of youth have a “serious emotional disturbance” which can be defined as a mental health problem or mental illness that severally disrupts the youth’s ability to function socially, academically and emotionally at home, in school, or in the community. Students with mental health problems are more likely to fail and to be absent, suspended or drop out. Despite this, research suggests that 75% to 80% of youth in need of mental health services do not receive them.

This hearing will examine School-Based Mental Health services and consider how such services can be expanded to serve a greater number of students.

Members of Community Education Councils, parents, students, educators, advocates, and all other stakeholders and interested members of the public are invited to testify at this hearing. Testimony will be limited to 2-3 minutes per person to allow as many as possible to testify. Although the hearing starts at 10:00 am, the Administration (Department of Education), as well as other witnesses (such as elected officials) have been invited to testify and answer questions from Council Members at the outset, so we do not expect to hear from others until sometime after 12:00pm. Please make sure you fill out a witness slip on the desk of the Sergeant-at-arms if you wish to testify. If you plan to bring written testimony, please bring at least 25 copies.

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