NYC Students and Teenspace
Introducing NYC Teenspace – Free Mental Health Support for Students Ages 13-17
Dear New Yorkers,
These days, walking through a school hallway or sitting in a classroom, the Covid-19 pandemic can feel like the distant past. Desks are no longer socially distanced. Masks are far less common. Yet the pandemic’s impact looms large in less visible—but still devastating—ways, especially when it comes to mental health.
For many students, feelings of grief, isolation, and anxiety are still fresh. And these social and emotional impacts can be especially pronounced for our older students, who also face the daily challenges of being a teen, from peer pressure to social media.
So I want to spread the word far and wide about NYC Teenspace, a groundbreaking new initiative offered through the city’s Health Department and powered by Talkspace. Through NYC Teenspace, any 13- to 17-year-old living in New York City can receive free, online mental health support, provided by licensed therapists in over 30 languages (and with translation available in many more). Once students are paired with a therapist, they can connect with them via unlimited text messaging and monthly video calls, along with accessing other mental health resources.*
Our city’s support for students’ social and emotional well-being doesn’t end here. Our schools offer a robust array of care options, including for students outside the NYC Teenspace age range. Specifically, every school has access to a social worker, counselor, school-based mental health clinic, or on-site mental health support from a community-based organization. (Families, to learn what’s available for your child, use our search tool to select your school, and then click the drop-down for Mental Health and Wellness.) And across all our schools, teachers have been offered mindfulness training—check out the video below to see mindfulness in action at P.S./M.S. 108 in East Harlem!
While we now have a vaccine for Covid itself, addressing loss and stress in the wake of the pandemic is no simple fix. Healing takes time—and support. That’s why I’m grateful for the Health Department’s NYC Teenspace. Let’s work together to get this resource into the hands of as many kids as possible.
David C. Banks
*Families, please note: NYC Teenspace is not a crisis hotline. If a student is in crisis or danger, call 988 (Suicide and Crisis Lifeline) or 911 for immediate emergency support.