Addressing mental health: NYC to screen students at all schools, add 500 social workers

By: | April 28, 2021

New York City teachers will screen their students for mental health needs this coming school year. The city also plans to hire about 500 new social workers to help schools address possible trauma and isolation during a year of disrupted learning, officials announced.

That means all schools will soon have at least one full-time social worker or a school-based mental health clinic, according to the plan. These new hires will be placed at schools that don’t currently have a full-time social worker, said Nathaniel Styer, a spokesperson for the education department. Additionally, 90 school psychologists and 30 family support staff, who work with school psychologists, will be hired for 270 high-needs schools, officials said.

While the city has not yet chosen a screening tool, a press release from City Hall said school staffers, including teachers, will be looking for “common signs of trauma and distress in students, and helping better plan next steps in providing care.” Parents can opt their children out of the screenings, Styer said.

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