Among Long Island districts to receive aid, Amityville schools will...

Among Long Island districts to receive aid, Amityville schools will get $1 million, Hempstead schools $5 million and Freeport schools $1.3 million, Credit: Alexi Knock

A total of $100 million will go to 50 school districts and BOCES in New York, including six districts on Long Island, to address mental health issues and post-pandemic learning loss, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Wednesday.

Hempstead is earmarked for $5 million, while Freeport is to receive $1.3 million and Amityville $1 million, Hochul said in a news release.

The funding follows an announcement in August that $100 million was available for school districts through programs addressing learning loss and mental health.

“This funding will help our teachers and school staff pinpoint where students have fallen behind and provide students with the crucial resources needed to support their mental health, especially after the pandemic,” she said.

The other Long Island districts benefiting from the aid are East Quogue with $663,180, Bellmore with $431,724, and South Country Central with $252,000. 

Freeport Superintendent Kishore Kuncham said he welcomed the funding and that it will strengthen mental health programs that have formed a key part of that district’s efforts for years.

“Student well-being and a holistic learning environment have been the core for our schools here,” he said.

Freeport will use the money to hire three social workers who will help staff wellness centers at the district’s intermediate, middle and high schools. In addition, five teacher’s aides will be hired to assist with similar efforts in the remaining five schools at the elementary level.

Officials in the Hempstead school district, which is to receive one of the largest sums in the latest round of funding, did not return a message seeking comment.

New York City public schools are to receive $19.7 million. Syracuse schools will get $10 million; Buffalo schools $7.8 million; and Yonkers schools $4 million, according to the governor’s office.

State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said the funding efforts show “our commitment to fostering equitable access to education opportunities and mental health services for all students. ... We aim to create an inclusive educational environment that empowers every learner to thrive in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Mental health has become a growing issue among adolescents and children especially following the height of the pandemic, when most spent months largely isolated from their peers and learning at home on screens.

Numerous reports and studies have documented an increase in depression, anxiety and suicide among young people, especially teenage girls.

Experts have blamed a confluence of factors that include screen addiction, pressure to perform in school and sports, and a general lack of resilience that can turn everyday struggles into crises.

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