Hochul Launches Series, Spring Summit Focused on Youth Mental Health

J.M. Lesinski

A shot of Depew High School in Depew, New York.Photo byPhoto by J.M. Lesinski

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul recently launched a statewide series of sessions and a summit to be held in spring with the goal of addressing mental health issues affecting New York state youth.

"As New York State's first female governor and the only mother to hold this office, I'm deeply disturbed by recent reports on instances of teen depression - especially following the isolation and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic," Hochul noted of the series. "It's time we put the mental well-being of our youth at the forefront and listen what they're going through to gain a deeper understanding of this issue and meaningfully address the problems young New Yorkers face."

The series will be coordinated by the New York State Office of Mental Health and the Office of Children and Family Services, and will be moderated by chosen representatives from the respective agencies.

"Governor Hochul's executive budget provides an historic investment into mental healthcare,” stated Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan of the series. “At the center of this transformation is a commitment to listen to individuals experiencing mental health challenges. Youth mental health has been seriously impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and other stressors. I applaud the Governor's commitment to making policy based on what adolescents are saying is important to them. I am thrilled that we will be engaging directly with young people, elevating their voices, and letting them guide us."

The spring summit on youth mental health and wellness will likely convene in May, aligning with Mental Health Awareness Month. The goals of the summit include bringing parents and youth together on mental health, technology, and education.

"Our young people are the most precious, yet vulnerable, members of our communities,” Office of Children and Family Services Acting Commissioner Suzanne Miles-Gustave remarked of the series. “We must do everything we can to protect their health and well-being, and this requires bold action to confront the mental health crisis they are facing. Our youth understand their unique emotional needs better than anyone. This initiative gives us the opportunity to hear directly from them, which is the only way we can develop and deploy the resources they desperately need."

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I have worked as a professional journalist for over five years now, covering the arts, music, food, politics, and culture up and down both coasts of the United States. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia with minors in Psychology and Creative Writing, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno.

Buffalo, NY

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