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Hochul hosts student roundtable on youth mental health and social media

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  • Staff Report 

Governor Kathy Hochul held a roundtable with students from Williamsville East High School in Erie County to address the youth mental health crisis and challenges posed by excessive social media use. The Governor emphasized her commitment to enacting legislation aimed at improving online safety and mitigating harmful social media impacts by the end of the 2024 State Legislative Session.

“I’ve heard from young people across our state about mental health challenges and the harmful impacts of social media,” Governor Hochul stated. “Inaction is not an option – we need to act now to combat addictive social media feeds and protect our kids online.”

Governor Hochul is focused on advancing two key pieces of legislation: the Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation (SAFE) for Kids Act, which aims to restrict addictive social media features, and the New York Child Data Protection Act, which will limit the collection of minors’ personal data by online sites. These initiatives are part of her broader effort to address the youth mental health crisis and ensure young people have access to necessary resources and care.

Williamsville Central School District Superintendent Dr. Darren J. Brown-Hall praised the students’ involvement, stating, “I want to thank Gov. Hochul for meeting with students to discuss mental health and social media. The more our students are able to be part of the discussion and advocate, the better.” Williamsville East High School Senior Aniyah Ramadan added, “It’s great that she has prioritized meeting with our generation to learn more about what’s going on with teenagers today.”

Governor Hochul has also expanded mental health support for children across the state, including $20 million in start-up funding for school-based mental health clinics and launching a rolling application to simplify their establishment. This builds on the $5.1 million awarded in November to support 137 new school-based clinics, bringing the statewide total to over 1,200 clinics.