New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed legislation requiring the Garden State’s public schools to provide mental health instruction to students beginning in kindergarten through the 12th grade.
“We are striving to do all that we can to improve health and wellness for our students,” Governor Murphy said. “By ensuring that children in grades K through 12 learn about mental health, we can promote a healthier future for New Jersey.
The legislation, S2861, requires the New Jersey Board of Education to review and make sure the state’s student learning standard in comprehensive health and physical education is incorporated in an age appropriate way in the K through 12 curriculum.
“The legislation is long overdue,” said State Senator Joseph Vitale, one of the bill’s sponsors. “It has taken our society a long time to recognize the crucial piece of well being that is mental health.
State Senator Kristin Corrado, another of the bill’s sponsors, added, “Mental health is just as important as physical health. Adolescence can be a confusing and stressful time. We need to make sure teens are comfortable asking for support.”
New Jersey Assemblyman John McKeon said one in five children ages 13 to 18 have, or will have serious mental illness in their lives, which can lead to suicide or to addiction.