Continues Push for Nation-Leading Legislation To Combat Addictive Social Media Algorithms and Protect Kids Online.

Governor Kathy Hochul today met virtually with parents from advocacy organizations across New York State to discuss her ongoing efforts to combat the youth mental health crisis. The Governor highlighted her push for nation-leading legislation addressing online safety and the harmful impacts of social media in the final days of the 2024 State Legislative Session.

“With just a week left in the legislative session, passing legislation to protect our kids online is my top priority,” Governor Hochul said. “I’ve been listening to parents, young people, educators and mental health professionals statewide, and one thing is clear – addictive social media algorithms are fueling the youth mental health crisis and we must act now.” 

The roundtable was made up of parents and representatives from organizations whose work spans across the State of New York. They include: 

  • Kyle McCauley Belokopitsky (Moderator), Rensselaer County, Executive Director of the NYS Congress of Parents and Teachers 

  • Dr. Ann Sullivan, Commissioner of the Office of Mental Health

  • Susan Fox, New York City, Founder of Park Slope Parents

  • Stephanie Stevens, Chautauqua County, President of the YWCAs of New York & Executive Director of YWCA Westfield

  • Scott MacLeod, Tompkins County, Co-Founder of The Sophie Fund, Inc.

  • Jenny Dembrow, New York City, Executive Director of the Lower East Side Girls Club

  • Julie Scelfo, New York City, Founder of Mothers Against Media Addiction

  • Elise Gold, Ulster County, Founder of the Maya Gold Foundation

  • Bernice Tsai, New York City, Representative of Common Sense Media

  • Meisha Porter, New York City, President and CEO of the Bronx Community Foundation

  • Kathleen Spence, Suffolk County, Teacher at Brentwood East Middle School

  • Arron Muller, New York City, CEO of Modify Wellness, Inc.

The Governor is focused on advancing two pieces of legislation by the end of the Legislative Session, including the Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation (SAFE) for Kids Act to restrict the addictive features of social media, and the New York Child Data Protection Act to restrict the collection of minors’ personal data by online sites.

Executive Director of the NYS Congress of Parents and Teachers (NYS PTA) Kyle McCauley Belokopitsky said, “We applaud Governor Hochul’s leadership on this critical issue facing millions of school children and their families across New York State. Our recent Mental Health Survey for parents, families and educators showed that 82% of respondents felt social media is the most important mental health issue for students. Governor Hochul is right that we must address this significant challenge facing our students by taking new steps to protect young people on social media. Together, we will Support Kids, Raise Awareness and make every child’s potential a reality.”

The Governor’s commitment to advancing these bills is part of her larger commitment to addressing youth mental health in New York State. In addition to the $1 billion mental health investment in the FY24 Enacted Budget, the FY25 Enacted Budget carries through $20 million in start-up funding for school-based mental health clinics and a rolling application process to expedite these awards, which were previously secured through the state procurement process. This initiative builds on the $5.1 million in state funding awarded in November to support 137 new school-based clinics – including 82 at high-needs schools – and bringing the total number to more than 1,200 statewide.

The FY25 Enacted Budget includes more than $19 million to provide critical care to young people, including increasing resources for youth receiving treatment in their community or in residential care.

Key initiatives include increasing Youth Assertive Community Treatment teams, which provide wraparound services and support to young people at risk of entering residential or inpatient psychiatric treatment, will be expanded with $9.6 million to continue serving them at home and within their community whenever possible. This funding will allow the state to develop 12 additional teams to serve youth statewide.

The Budget also adds $4 million to support a loan forgiveness program specifically for licensed mental health clinicians serving children and families. Another $2 million was added to expand peer-to-peer mental wellness efforts among young people across the state, including training programs like Teen Mental Health First Aid, which enable New Yorkers to assist friends, family or other community members who experience challenges with mental health or substance use.


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