August 12, 2019
New Jersey public schools will be required to provide instruction to students on mental health under a law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday.
The Associated Press reports that the just-passed law will require adding mental health to health and physical education lesson plans for students in grades K-12, statewide.
The law specifies that the mental health-focused instruction – including substance addiction – must be geared toward the age and understanding of each grade. The measure seeks to help all students – with and without mental health conditions – to understand the challenges of mental illness. It is hoped the improved awareness would help teachers establish deeper connections with students who have a mental health diagnoses.
It is also hoped that better education will encourage students to get mental health treatment when they need it.
The second part of the new law requires the State Board of Education to analyze — and update accordingly — health standards to ensure the quality of mental health instruction, the AP.
The law doesn't take effect until the 2020-2021 school year.
“We are striving to do all that we can to improve health and wellness for our students,” Murphy said in a statement, according to CBS Philly.