Online mental health training for educators

Feb 19, 2019

A new online training program in the state is now available to help educators better prepare for supporting student mental health. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says the Mental Health Association in New York State (MHANYS) provides the service for educators.

"This particular one is really geared to teachers and really provides just a basic understanding about mental health,” said Glenn Liebman, CEO of the state's Mental Health Association.

Teacher in the Buffalo Academy for Visual & Performing Arts teaching a class on test anxiety.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The new online training program is called Supporting the Mental and Wellness of Students. It's designed to deepen the understanding of this critical topic. It includes learning how mental health troubles impact youth development and learning and what signs, symptoms and risk factors educators should look for.

"The percentage of students that have an increased level of anxiety and depression, it's just skyrocketing. I can't say that a day goes by where we are not hearing some stories about some school where something is happening along those lines. I'm sure it happens all the time, all too frequently,” Liebman explained.

The online training works to enhance the state's recent law that now requires all schools to teach some forum of mental health to students. Since implemented last fall, Lieberman tells WBFO News more than 50 percent of the state's public schools have access its resource center.  

Teacher in the Buffalo Academy for Visual & Performing Arts teaching a class on test anxiety.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“People have been really incredibly positive about this. They recognize the need,” Liebman remarked.

Liebman noted there has been no pushback in enforcing a curriculum. Liebman said schools have been working hard to embrace the new teachings and he even offers a letter grade.   

“If it were pass/fail – it would definitely be a pass, but I would say it would be in the A's at this point because they’re really embracing this,” Liebman said.  

The State's Mental Health Association is pushing to securing $1 million in funding for the School Mental Health Center in the upcoming state budget.