Dean Lindsey Joins NYS Governor, Teens at Mental Health Listening Tour Announcement
From Left: Office of Mental Health Commissioner Ann Marie Sullivan, Kay Danielle Thompson, Governor Kathy Hochul, Dean Michael A. Lindsey, and Office of Children and Family Services Acting Commissioner/Executive Deputy Commissioner Suzanne Miles-Gustave, Esq.
“We must ensure that our young people can truly thrive – not only in terms of their physical health and education, but also their mental health,” said NYU Silver Dean Michael A. Lindsey as New York State Governor Kathy Hochul announced a statewide listening tour and a spring summit aimed at exploring issues impacting teen mental health. Those initiatives will buttress more than $1 billion included in the Governor’s Executive Budget to overhaul how New York provides mental health care and halve the unmet mental health needs of children and teens over the next five years.
Following the Governor’s announcement, 17-year-old Kay-Danielle Thompson shared her own story of the critical support she has received from her school counselor, Ms. Vega, and the struggles of her sister, who attends a different high school that lacks similar support. Dr. Lindsey gave his remarks after the teen spoke. “I’m so grateful,” he said, “that our Governor recognizes the gravity of the situation, and is hearing our young people’s cry for help.”
“As a researcher focusing on the mental wellbeing of youth, I have seen troubling trends in our state and nation relating to trauma, anxiety, depression, and suicide,” said Dr. Lindsey, who is the primary subject matter expert for New York State’s Black Youth Suicide Prevention Workgroup. “In order to turn the tide, it is important that youth can access mental health services in places where they live and learn, such as our schools.”
Dr. Lindsey cited data that underscored the urgency of the Governor’s initiatives. “Today, about 145,000 young New Yorkers between ages 12 and 17 have depression,” he said, “yet, more than half of them did not receive any mental healthcare within the last year … Sadly, some of our children are hurting so much that they contemplate ending their lives, and occasionally, they follow through with it. Indeed, suicide ranks as the third leading cause of death for young people in the U.S. aged 10 to 24.” Moreover, Dr. Lindsey said, the rates are worse for Black, LGBTQ, and female students.
While we are still learning the reasons for these alarming trends, Dr. Lindsey said, “what we do know is that connecting our young people to mental health care and supportive services will change the trajectories of their lives. Simply put, providing our youth resources will save their lives.” That’s why, he said, the Governor’s investment in youth mental health care and education is so important. “Many thanks to Governor Hochul for recognizing that we must invest in the future of our state through its most precious resource: our young people.”
Video of the Governor’s announcement is available on YouTube. Dr. Lindsey’s remarks begin at the 28 minute mark.
Dr. Lindsey is also featured on Rochester Public Radio’s coverage of the announcement. Listen on WXXINews.org.