Mental Health

Mental Health Impacts All of Us

Mental health impacts not only our students but our families, schools, and communities.

  • One in five children struggle, or at some point in their life will struggle, with their mental health.
  • Half of all mental-health and substance-use conditions start before age 14.
  • Approximately one in five students who could benefit from additional mental-health supports does not get them.

Get Help Immediately

Text "WELL" to 65173, call 1-888-NYC-WELL (692-9355), or chat now.

  • NYC-Well is a confidential mental health information and referral line with access to mobile crisis teams. Staffed by trained social workers 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year.
  • Interpretation services are offered for 200+ languages.
  • NYC Well services are provided through ThriveNYC, which is a comprehensive public health approach to mental health in NYC. The program works to shift the culture, remove stigma around mental health, and make help-seeking normal.
  • To learn more about ThriveNYC, view the ThriveNYC Roadmap for Mental Health.

Get Help at Your School

Mental health resources are available to every public school in New York City. The School Mental Health Program offers support so schools meet the emotional health and academic needs of their students.

Why school programs?

Enhanced school mental health programs improve school's abilities to provide access and support during the school day. When students access school based mental health programs:

  • Schools see an increase in grades, attendance, student self-esteem, overall child health, and parent and teacher knowledge of mental health issues.
  • Schools also see a decrease in absenteeism and emergency room use for mental health services.

What services are offered at my child’s school?

We do not use the same approach to mental health services at every school. A variety of services are offered through each school’s mental health and wellness program, which often includes universal social-emotional learning programming for all students, selective mental health supports for small groups of students, and targeted clinical services for students with more intensive needs. District resources, funding, and supplemental programming supports are assigned to schools based on various factors such as school need, community resources, and existing mental health services. Each school has a plan for social-emotional learning and one or more of the following programs may be offered at your child’s school:

Multi-Tiered Supports

  • Social Worker:
    • School-based social workers provide direct service to students through individual and group counseling, and support their school’s implementation of proactive social-emotional learning and mental health programming. Social workers are also able to provide more intensive clinical services for students with greater needs. 
  • Community School Mental Health Program:
    • The Community School Mental Health Program is a part of the Community Schools Initiative within New York City. Community Schools incorporate academics with health and mental health services, social services, expanded learning opportunities and family resources. Through the Office of School Health, mental health managers work with community schools to assess the mental health needs of each school, connect them with the appropriate providers offering educators and families a range of mental health interventions needed within a given school, and create partnerships with community mental health providers. School mental health managers implement and provide quality oversight of onsite mental health programming offered by different providers.
  • Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention Specialists (SAPIS):
    • The SAPIS program provides a range of prevention and intervention services in grades K–12. SAPIS aims to reduce the prevalence of substance abuse among youth, delay the initiation of substance abuse behavior among youth, decrease the negative health, social, and educational consequences associated with substance abuse and prevent the escalation of substance abuse behaviors to levels requiring treatment. Services include classroom lessons, individual and group counseling, peer leadership programs, crisis intervention, conflict resolution, referrals for mental health and substance abuse services, school-wide projects, and parent workshops.

Tier 1 Universal Social-Emotional Learning and Wellness Programs

  • School Counselor:
    • School counselors are trained to service the entire K to 12 school community including students, families, staff, and school leadership. School counselors work with school administrators in advocating for programs and services that positively impact student academic success in alignment with New York State Learning Standards, social emotional development, and higher education and career readiness.
  • DESSA Social-Emotional Learning Screener: 
    • The NYC Department of Education is implementing a strengths-based, social-emotional learning screener in the 2021-2022 school year. The screener is a tool to advance implementation of multi-tiered social emotional and mental health support in schools, building on historic investments we have made over the past several years. By administering the screener and analyzing corresponding screener data, schools are able to identify students' social-emotional competencies, identify students who may benefit from additional support, and identify opportunities to strengthen the foundational support provided to all students.
  • Harmony SEL:
    • In partnership with National University System’s Harmony program, the NYC Department of Education offers social-emotional learning curriculum and workshops to elementary schools to help students develop social and emotional skills to succeed academically. Providing students with instruction in social-emotional skills serves as both an overarching prevention strategy and as a primary intervention strategy, especially for children who will benefit significantly from an expanded “toolkit” of responses that includes appropriate, pro-social strategies for effectively interacting with others. Harmony is rooted in helping students build relationship skills through the lenses of diversity and inclusion, empathy and critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and peer relationships.
  • RULER:
    • RULER is an evidence-based approach to social and emotional learning developed at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. RULER supports entire school communities in understanding the value of emotions, building the skills of emotional intelligence, and creating and maintaining a positive school climate. This program aims to infuse the principles of emotional intelligence into the immune system of schools, enhancing how students learn, teachers teach, families parent, and leaders lead.
  • Restorative Justices:
    • Restorative Practices are a research-based approach to building more inclusive school communities and responding more holistically to student misbehavior. Through Restorative Justice, students are encouraged to utilize social-emotional learning skills for conflict resolution and problem solving, and to take ownership of their own behavior. These strategies are designed to help students better understand their behavior, how it impacts themselves and others, and ultimately to use that self- and social awareness to repair damage caused to relationships as a result of inappropriate behavior.

Tier 2 Selective Mental Health Supports

  • School Mental Health Specialist Program:
    • The School Mental Health Specialist Program supports schools’ efforts to promote social and emotional well-being by building supportive environments and strengthening family and community ties. The Specialists support schools by creating school-wide Mental Health Workplans, offering parent workshops, creating linkages to community mental health providers, providing staff trainings, supplementing some selective level services for students, and participating in team meetings addressing crisis intervention and consolidated plans. Specialists also offer crisis intervention and post-vention services as needed, participate in the school’s students support teams for consultations and referrals.
  • School Mental Health Prevention and Intervention Program: 
    • The Prevention and Intervention Program offers on-site mental health services and works to improve the climate in public schools that experience ongoing complex mental health needs. As part of this program model, mental health managers work to assess the mental health needs of a school. These managers also implement and provide quality oversight of onsite mental health programming offered by different providers.

Tier 3 Targeted Clinical Services 

  • School-Based Mental Health Clinics (Article 31):
    • Licensed by the New York State Office of Mental Health, these clinics provide individual, family and group therapies; crisis and psychiatric assessments; case management; school community outreach; and 24-hour crisis coverage for students.
  • School-Based Health Centers with Mental Health Services (Article 28): 
    • Licensed by the New York State Department of Health, these centers provide comprehensive health services such as physical exams, vaccinations and emergency care. A subset also provides mental health services and support.
  • Pathways to Care:
    • A partnership between NYC Health and Hospitals, NYC Department of Education, and the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health to connect schools in the neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID-19 with expedited referrals to Health and Hospitals Child and Adolescent Outpatient Mental Health Clinics, where students can receive diagnostic evaluation, ongoing therapy, medication management, and other clinical services. Sessions can be delivered in person at clinics and via telemental health.
  • School Response Team Programs: 
    • School Response Teams support schools so they can better meet the mental health needs of their students. Teams conduct mental health assessments, make referrals to needed community-based mental health and social services, and engage parents through outreach. They also conduct crisis interventions and trainings in the schools.
  • Central Crisis Response Team:
    • Central team of clinical social workers who are available to assist schools when responding to students in emotional distress, as well as provide professional learning citywide for social workers, school counselors, and crisis teams.
  • Mobile Crisis Units:
    • Teams of health professionals (nurses, social workers and psychiatrists) who can provide mental health crisis response services in schools. Currently there are two dozen teams in the city. Children’s mobile crisis teams can provide mental health engagement, intervention and follow-up support to help overcome resistance to treatment. Depending on what a person is willing to accept, the teams may offer a range of services.
  • FEMA/Project HOPE Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program (CCP):
    • A FEMA grant-funded collaboration with the NYC Department of Health and NYC Department of Education to provide crisis counseling services in schools located in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Offerings include individual crisis counseling services, group crisis counseling services, referrals, outreach, and education to all staff, students, and families in school communities.

For more information about school- and community-based mental health and wellness services available to your child, please go to the Find a School page, look up your child’s school, and see the information listed under the “Mental Health and Wellness” tab.

How can I get services for my child?

Ask your Parent Coordinator, School Social Worker, or School Counselor for more information about your school's mental health program.

What if I need help talking to my school?

Visit the Children’s Health Fund Resource and Training Center to help find the right questions to ask and tips to start a discussion.

Will I have to pay?

Although many services are at no cost to families, some services such as treatment may have a fee. Ask your school mental health program for more information.

  • If there is a fee, your current health care insurance may be billed directly.
  • If you do not have insurance, your school mental health program may be able to help you obtain public health insurance.

Telehealth Services

Mental health services are being offered remotely to support children and family during these difficult times. The School Mental Health Program is working with our community providers to offer Telehealth services which utilize health insurance, medicaid or offer a sliding scale for billing. Please reach out to each agency by phone or email for more information:

Mental Health Telehealth Contacts for Covid-19

New Mental Health Campaign

In partnership with the Office of School Health, the School of Mental Health Program, the Jed Foundation, and Ogilvy Health, the Mayor's Office of Community Mental Health has launched, Let's Talk NYC: to Support Student Mental Health.

Let's Talk NYC is a self-guided online training that prepares all high school staff, irrespective of role, to become mental health allies. This training is available for all high school DOE staff members and can be accessed on the Let's Talk NYC Training page .

Additional Support

  1. Hite Site offers a citywide online search for mental health, social services, and healthcare agencies
  2. Learn how you can assist others at the ThriveNYC Learning Center
  3. NYC Family and Youth Peer Support (FYPS) services