New York and Virginia became the first states on Sunday to require mental health education in their school districts.
New York’s legislation, CNN reported, mandates the implementation of health curriculum in elementary, middle and high school. The Virginia law implements mental health education for ninth and 10th grade.
“This bill calls on school districts to ensure that their health education programs recognize the multiple dimensions of health by including mental health and the relation between mental and physical health in health education,” reads the purpose of the New York law.
The text goes on to say that while the State Education Department realizes the complexities of a child’s well-being, mental health has escaped inclusion in the New York statute. Legislators, who wrote the law in 2015, built on New York’s 40-year old postulate to teach health matters, including alcohol, drug and tobacco abuse, to school children.