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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

August 31, 2021

Office of Mental Health Announces New Video Series to Help Parents and Students Prepare for Return to School

Series of YouTube Videos Addresses Concerns from New Yorkers and Offers Tips for Coping

The New York State Office of Mental Health today announced a series of ‘Back to School 2021’ videos to assist and support parents, caregivers and students as they prepare for the new school year.

OMH Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “This has been an extremely trying year for the students of New York and for their parents. Some students haven’t been in the classroom for 18 months. Others have had to juggle hybrid learning. It’s been a period of extreme sacrifice and now, as we prepare to enter the 2021-22 school year, we want parents and students to know that we are here to support you and your mental health.”

The videos are targeted to parents and caregivers as well students with topics that include:

  • the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on children and adolescents,
  • ways to support yourself and others,
  • how to get help when you need it,
  • age-specific information on promoting mental wellness in children- from birth to young adulthood.
  • an overview of the Crisis Text Line, a national, text-based crisis counselor service.

OMH surveyed hundreds of New York children and families to learn what might be causing anxiety and concern ahead of this school year. The videos will help kids and parents deal with the stress and other issues caused by the pandemic over the last 18 months, and also offer additional resources that have been compiled by the Office of Mental Health, including:

  • Resiliency tips for New Yorkers,
  • Conversation starters to check in on someone’s mental health,
  • Brochures on supporting children’s Emotional Development by age group, and
  • NY Project Hope resources for teens, parents, and young children.

Additionally, OMH’s NY Project Hope Emotional Support Helpline (1-844-863-9314) continues to help support students and caregivers during this transition. The Helpline is open from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm Monday through Friday. Trained crisis counselors can listen to your concerns and offer suggestions for coping. It also provides linkages for callers who need additional support.

OMH launched the Emotional Support Helpline in March 2020 as part of the agency’s COVID-19 response and to date the line has handled 70,000 calls and provided free, confidential, and anonymous assistance to New Yorkers across the state.

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