Thrive NYC is a major commitment to mental health, one that is tackling a problem that directly affects 20% of New Yorkers-in addition to all the people in their lives which requires a population wide response.  As part of the, Act Early initiative under Thrive NYC, New York City is making a major commitment to supporting the mental health of its students. Through collaborating with DOE, DOHMH Office of School Health is implementing new approaches. One new approach is the School Mental Health Consulting Program. The program will roll out in three phases starting in May 2016 to eventually serve 900 NYC DOE school campuses that have no dedicated mental health support.

Program Design

  • Through the Office of School Health, NYC DOHMH will hire 100 School Mental Health Consultants (SMHC) to serve as, Resource Specialists.  SMHC will be assigned to support up to 900 DOE schools (elementary, middle and high schools) throughout New York City.

  • Hire 10 Field Supervisors who will sit in the Borough Field Support Centers (BFSC) and provide supervision to

SMHC Consultants and ensure fidelity to the program model; and 2) serve as team members-assisting BFSC staff to support schools and school teams.

Acting Early Is A Key Public Health Strategy!

  • Schools know their students! As such, school staff has a unique vantage point to observe students, notice change in behavior, mood or attitude, identify concerns, and link students with mental health supports.

  • Identification and referral by teachers and other adults are among the strongest predictors of youth mental health service use.

  • Schools services are the most common point of entry for children seeking help for mental health concerns.  


  1. Develop an effective consultation model to address the mental health needs of schools and conduct a demonstration. Roll out the program citywide by December 2016.

  2. Promote the program to school and community and talk about the benefits of supporting mental health and reducing stigma.

  3. Work with the school to assess and address the level and need for mental health support using a multi-tiered model: universal services for the entire school, selective services for groups of individuals, targeted services for kids in need.

  4. Map resources based on City-wide assessment and school level assessment to create individualized resource maps for each school.

  5. Train member in the school community in one of three universal trainings; and deliver or arrange for other trainings as requested by the school.  

  6. Link and identify referral pathways to strengthen school/community ties.

  7. Consult with BFSC, school leadership, and school based teams.

If you have any questions please e-mail the Directors of the School Mental Health Consultation Program: Director, Denise Arieli-Barufka, LMSW darieli@health.nyc.gov; and Deputy Director, Richard Repaci, LCSW rrepaci1@health.nyc.gov.