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James Plastiras Director of Public Information New York State Office of Mental Health 518-474-6540 james.plastiras@omh.ny.gov

October 15, 2020

New York State Recognizes Long Island School District for its Shift in Focus on Mental Wellness

Plainedge School District Honored for Positively Impacting Students through New Northwell Health Partnership

Albany, NY - New York State is honoring the Plainedge Union Free School District (Plainedge UFSD), in Nassau County, with the 2020 ‘What’s Great in our State’ School District Award.

Last fall, Plainedge UFSD recognized that its 2,700 students and their families were struggling to make connections to mental health programs. As a response, the district launched a new mental health partnership with Northwell Health.

This initiative, although in its infancy, has already had a significant positive impact on the entire school community. Plainedge now has a psychiatrist at the school four hours a week, and dedicated mental health professionals who help make referrals, provide crisis support and promote professional development

“The Plainedge Union Free School District shows us ‘What’s Great in Our State’ by recognizing the needs of the families in its district and spearheading a mental health partnership that has already improved the mental wellness of the school community,” said New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan. “Having a safe, stigma-free environment where children can address behavioral health struggles and have direct linkage to services can make a tremendous impact on a child’s future success. We thank the Plainedge District and all our honorees for their hard work and commitment to children’s mental health.”

Plainedge UFSD was presented with the award at the annual ‘What’s Great in our State 2020’ event on October 15th held virtually via WebEx. The celebration recognizes the individuals and programs that are successfully advancing the cause of children’s mental health in New York State.

“The Plainedge School District is excited to be one of the New York districts recognized for our work addressing the mental health needs of our students,” says Bridget Murphy, Director of Special Education at Plainedge. “During the 19-20 school year, our mental health team trained our school staff in a myriad of mental health issues, conducted 36 Psychiatric Evaluations, and connected over 80 families to on-going mental health supports in the form of counseling, medication management, linkages to community resources, and hospitalization.  We are now entering a second year of our partnership with Northwell Health – South Oaks and we cannot be more grateful for our ability to address the needs of the Plainedge community during this unique start to the academic year.”


What’s Great in Our State’

The ‘What’s Great in Our State’ event was first launched in 2010 and is typically held during Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, a national movement that raises awareness about the importance of children’s mental health. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was postponed and reorganized as a virtual celebration.

The event is sponsored by six New York State agencies and several children’s mental health advocacy organizations: The Office of Mental Health, the Council on Children and Families, the Department of Health, the State Education Department, the Office of Children and Family Services and the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, Early Care & Learning Council, Families Together in New York State, Inc., Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc., National Alliance on Mental Illness - New York State, New York State Network for Youth Success, Prevent Child Abuse New York, Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc., and the Suicide Prevention Center of New York.


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