City to launch tele-mental health care for teens

Starting this month, all New York City public school students ages 13 to 17 will have access to a licensed therapist they can contact by phone, video and text, Mayor Eric Adams announced Wednesday.

The city's tele-mental health service, called 'TeenSpace', was created in partnership with online therapy platform Talkspace, which the city says will operate the service.


What you need to know

  • Starting this month, all New York City public school students ages 13 through 17 will have access to a licensed therapist they can contact by phone, video and text, Mayor Eric Adams announced Wednesday
  • The city's tele-mental health service, called 'TeenSpace', was created in partnership with online therapy platform Talkspace, which the city says will operate the service
  • Adams said the program was shaped by input from city students who participated in focus groups, and aims to address an urgent mental health crisis.

“Our young people should never feel alone,” Adams said at a news conference in Brooklyn. “We are there for them and we want all young people to be able to live happier lives, grow and prosper. We want a city where we can raise healthy children and families, and that starts with using every form of technology and innovation available.”

Adams said the program was shaped by input from city students who participated in focus groups, and aims to address: urgent mental health crisisexacerbated by the pandemic, among young people.

Commissioner for Health and Mental Hygiene Dr. Ashwin Vasan termed the establishment of TeenSpace as “necessary” and “essential” while citing statistics that reflect the dire state of mental health of youth in the city.

“In 2021, nearly 40% of all high school students in New York City said they felt so sad or hopeless over the past year that they stopped doing things that normally made them happy,” said Dr. Vasan.

He added that the percentage of local high school students experiencing suicidal thoughts has increased by more than 30% in the past decade.

“The numbers don't lie, and it's time we don't ignore what's ahead,” Adams added.

Students who use the service and need “extensive” assistance will be referred to additional external resources, according to a news release from City Hall.

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