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August 12, 2019

Mental health instruction will be mandatory in grades K-12 under New Jersey law

But the law won't go into effect until the 2020-2021 school year

Children's Health Mental Health
mental health instruction new jersey schools pan xiaozhen/Unsplash

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.

RELATED READ: NBA to implement new mental health guidelines for 2019-2020 season

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.

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