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Video Corner

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day Honorary Chairperson Demi Lovato
National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day 2013 Honorary Chairperson Demi Lovato

Anderson Cooper tries schizophrenia simulator
Anderson Cooper tries schizophrenia simulator

Someone to Notice
(This video was created as part of a Creative Narrations workshop hosted at Hofstra University)



Dear Friends and Colleagues;

This quarter, in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, the newsletter is focused on Schools and Mental Health.  According to NAMI, the National Association for Mental Illness, mental health conditions are common among teens and young adults. 1 in 5 live with a mental health condition, half develop the condition by age 14 and three quarters by age 24. For some, experiencing the first signs can be scary and confusing. Discussing what you are going through with others is an important first step to getting help. Speaking up and asking for help is a sign of strength. You will be amazed by the support you get simply by asking. A mental health condition isn't your fault or your family's fault, it develops for complicated reasons that researchers are only starting to understand. Experts understand a lot about how you can live well with a mental health condition, and youth and families have the power to take the steps necessary to improve mental health and overall outcomes. Mental health services and supports are available and the earlier they are accessed the better. Many teens and young adults live full lives with a mental health condition. More and more teens and young adults are speaking out about their experiences and connecting with others. It is important that school programs are available to support those youth who are at risk or need additional resources to navigate through systems and services. The US Department of Education along with the NYS Education Department has a clear commitment to supporting students with Emotional Disabilities and Mental Health Challenges. Please share the resources and information with your families, students and colleagues.  

Each quarter our newsletter will provide you with current events in education, updates from NYS Education Department, the US Department of Education, and regional resources. Our staff enjoys sharing the most interesting articles and information we find as we navigate through our daily work schedules. What we do know is that there never seems to be enough time to read every article, every e-mail, and every memo that is distributed throughout the field. Our goal is to conveniently share with you the most important and interesting information that we find in a timely manner. We encourage you to join our list serve  click here  so in addition to this newsletter you will receive periodic publications and notices that might be of interest to you.

Helene Fallon
Project Coordinator
Acronyms & Key Terms:

OMH - Office of Mental Health - New York State has a large, multi-faceted mental health system that serves more than 700,000 individuals each year. The Office of Mental Health (OMH) operates psychiatric centers across the State, and also regulates, certifies and oversees more than 4,500 programs, which are operated by local governments and nonprofit agencies. These programs include various inpatient and outpatient programs, emergency, community support, residential and family care programs.

PBIS - Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports   - PBIS is a research-based approach for schools and districts which is used to teach positive behavior to all students and offers additional behavioral support for students with or at risk of developing socially challenging behaviors.  PBIS focuses on creating and sustaining primary (school-wide), secondary (classroom), and tertiary (individual)  systems of support that improve results for all students by reducing problem behavior and increasing positive behavior.                           

MTSS - Multi Tiered Systems of Support - MTSS is a schoolwide, data-driven prevention model designed to maximize the impact of academic and behavioral instruction and intervention on student outcomes.            

FBA - Functional behavioral assessment  - is implemented to determine why an individual is engaging in challenging behavior (i.e., the function of the behavior). The first two components of an FBA consist of an interview and a direct observation both of which are implemented to identify when the challenging behavior is most likely to occur and the consequences that are typically delivered following the behavior. A commonly used "interview" is the Motivational Assessment Scale and a commonly used observation system is an antecedent/behavior/consequence analysis. The third component of an FBA consists of manipulating environmental variables to determine their effects on a student's behavior. A well conducted FBA will allow for the identification of the function of the behavior, as well as events that occur before and after the behavior that maintain the behavior. Interventionists can then use this information to develop an effective positive behavior support plan.       

BIP - Behavioral intervention plan  - is based on the functional behavior assessment (FBA) and is designed for a specific child. As best practices suggests, the BIP should consist of four components. The first component addresses setting events which are events that influence the likelihood a student will engage in challenging behavior such as lack of sleep, feeling hungry, or a disturbance that occurred earlier in the day.  The second component addresses antecedents (i.e., those events that occur just prior to the challenging behavior) and may consist of visual cues, offering a choice, or breaking tasks into smaller parts. The third component consists of skill based strategies in which the learner is taught a specific skill to replace the challenging behavior.  Finally, consequence procedures should be developed that reinforce appropriate behavior.                                                                  

May is Mental Health Month

The Office of Mental Health is pleased to join with individuals and organizations across New York State, the United States, and the world as we recognize May as Mental Health Month. 

One in five New York residents will experience a mental illness in their lifetime, yet many of our family members, friends, and neighbors do not seek treatment. The question is why and the answer all too often is the stigma and fear of discrimination for living with a mental illness. Many will suffer for years untreated, being unable to lead full and productive lives. We must tear down the terrible wall of stigma and eliminate any shame associated with mental illness.

Mental Health in Schools: An Overview

It is, of course, not a new insight that physical and mental health concerns must be addressed if schools are to function satisfactorily and students are to succeed at school. It has long been acknowledged that a variety of psychosocial and health problems affect learning and performance in profound ways. Such problems are exacerbated as youngsters internalize the debilitating effects of performing poorly at school and are punished for the misbehavior that is a common correlate of school failure. Because of all this, school policy makers, have a lengthy (albeit somewhat reluctant) history of trying to assist teachers in dealing with problems that interfere with schooling. Prominent examples are seen in the range of counseling, psychological, and social service programs schools provide.

Emotional Disturbance

The mental health of our children is a natural and important concern for us all. The fact is, many mental disorders have their beginnings in childhood or adolescence, yet may go undiagnosed and untreated for years.

We refer to mental disorders using different "umbrella" terms such as emotional disturbance, behavioral disorders, or mental illness. Beneath these umbrella terms, there is actually a wide range of specific conditions that differ from one another in their characteristics and treatment.

Supporting Children and Youth with Mental Health Challenges

Each of us has many ways that we can support and advocate for all children and youth, but especially those with disabilities and mental health challenges. I like to think about support and advocacy at four levels.

First, we must actively encourage policy makers, such as school board members, legislators, and advocacy groups, to develop and enact policies that are based on sound research, defendable theory, and good implementation science.

Second, we must give policy implementers feedback on how well their efforts are enabling educators, family members, and others to effectively support all children and youth, but especially those with disabilities and mental health challenges.

Third, we must give supportive feedback and encouragement to professionals who provide direct support to all children and youth, but especially those with disabilities and mental health challenges.

Finally, we, ourselves, must be active in directly using and modeling the use of effective practices (see 2. below) with all children and youth, but especially those with disabilities and mental health challenges.

Blueprint For Improved Results For Students with Disabilities

The mission of the New York State Education Department (NYSED), Office of Special Education, - supported by all offices within NYSED - is to ensure that students with disabilities have opportunities to benefit from high quality instruction, to reach the same standards as all students, and to leave school prepared to successfully transition to postschool learning, living and working. Through this process, there are essential and fundamental procedural rights and protections afforded by federal and State law both to parents and students with disabilities.

While there are many other components or key principles that are important in the education of students with disabilities, this Blueprint focuses on seven research and evidence-based core principles and practices for all students with disabilities.

Read more... 
Youth Advisory Panel

The Youth Advisory Panel was established to advise the P-12: Office of Special Education on proposed policies related to the education of students with disabilities.  Panel members engage in facilitated discussions with NYSED staff on policy issues relating to the education of students with disabilities.  In addition to commenting on and providing their recommendations regarding proposed policies, panel members share their concerns and recommendations for future policy consideration.  Their participation serves to advise NYSED from a first-hand perspective on ways to improve the quality of special education services and student outcomes.  Participation on the panel also provides students with the opportunity to sharpen their self-advocacy and leadership skills and network with other youth.

Nominations for membership are accepted on an ongoing basis and kept on file for any available openings.  A youth may be nominated by a parent, teacher, employer, or other adult familiar with the individual.  Youth who are 18 years of age or older may nominate themselves.

Truancy Definition, Facts and Laws

The definition of truancy is usually established by school district policy and may vary across districts. Definitions for an excused absence, an unexcused absence, or a truancy can vary by state and even school districts.

Any unexcused absence from school is considered a truancy, but states enact their own school attendance laws. State law determines 1) the age at which a child is required to begin attending school, 2) the age at which a child may legally drop out of school, and 3), the number of unexcused absences at which a student is considered legally truant.

Save the Date:
Upcoming Events

In the course of day to day business and in the process of writing newsletters, LIPC often comes across resources that may be useful to parents and/or professionals. In this resources section, we share with you the websites that we've found useful this quarter. If you have a resource you have found particularly helpful, we encourage you to share it with us here and we will consider it for the next newsletter. 

  • BRINGING ATTENDANCE HOME Engaging Parents in Preventing Chronic Absence Parent Tool Kit
  • Read the Mental Health in Schools Act of 2015 here.
  • Pederson-Krag Center in Coram offers Child & Family Community-Based Programs. Find out more here.
  • NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. Find out more here.
  • Federal Positive Behavior Intervention Strategies Technical Assistance Center
  • New York State Positive Behavior Intervention Strategies Technical Assistance Center
We look forward to working with you.  Please check out the LIPC Website for updates on future trainings and workshops and be sure to look for our next newsletter in the spring!