This school year, New York became the first state in the country to teach a mental health curriculum in its public schools, the Daily Mail reports. The classes on mental health are mandated by a state law passed in July.

According to NBC News, schools will focus on curbing the stigma surrounding mental health; providing appropriate resources for students to turn to for help and support if they or anyone has a mental health issue and helping students learn to identify mental problems and crises. 

“When young people learn about mental health, and that it is an important aspect of overall health and well-being, the likelihood increases that they will be able to effectively recognize signs and symptoms in themselves and others and will know where to turn for help — and it will decrease the stigma that attaches to help-seeking,” New York’s State Education Commissioner, MaryEllen Elia told NBC.

“We need to change attitudes around mental health,”  Meredith Coles, a psychology professor at the State University of New York, said. “Starting to educate children in schools makes sense.”

Other states are planning to integrate similar mental health curricula into their school systems. 

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