More mental health services needed for children in New York, nonprofit says

NEW YORK (PIX11) – The New York City Council held a monitoring hearing on Wednesday to find out if the Department of Health is doing enough to meet the mental health needs of the city’s children.

Coming out of the pandemic, more and more young New Yorkers are seeking mental health help, resulting in a waiting list for at least one nonprofit for children in need of services.

“If you look at national data, suicide rates have increased among young people, anxiety and depression have tripled in the past two years. How can we continue to highlight the services young people need” , said Althea Stevens, member of the New York City Council.

Henry Street Settlement serves 50,000 New Yorkers each year, including 2,500 Lower East Side students. The non-profit organization reports a growing need for services addressing the mental health needs of students. The nonprofit started a program called Henry Street Connect to offer counseling in a public space.

The organization has a presence in three community schools, nine school social workers and a number of after-school programs, but CEO David Garza said that’s still not enough.

“Right now, it’s like doing the work on the ice because at every age, whether a child is in our CPE, in elementary school, in middle school or in high school, almost every one of them does facing a mental health challenge, be it stress, anxiety, depression, frustration, tension at home. This affects their physical health. This impacts their ability to keep up with their schoolwork. This impacts their ability to socialize.

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