For Families > Keeping Kids Healthy > Public Mental Health Issues and Research

NYU Child Study Center Helps Teens at Risk

Launch Event Photos

Click here to read the press release.

Click here to visit an introductory demonstration of the STEPS Web site.

STEPS, which stands for Screening, Treatment, and Education to Promote Strength, is a new NYU Child Study Center (CSC) comprehensive risk- prevention initiative for high school students. The pilot program is offered to teens in Rockland and Orange counties.

STEPS promotes mental well-being and reduces the risk of suicide, and school violence through education, self-help, and screening by involving students, parents and teachers. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15 to19 year olds in the United States.

STEPS helps teens and families reduce risk factors such as depression, substance abuse, and anxiety, and improve problem-solving and stress management skills. The program includes:

  • Two websites -- one for parents and one for teens – which offer mental health information, self-assessments, and engaging self-help activities
  • Mental health screenings for teens, available online and in schools
  • Advice and information on services from STEPS staff
  • Consultation for schools to integrate the STEPS program into their health curriculum
  • STEPS Fellows – a program to involve students in the program’s implementation and evaluation

STEPS was developed by NYU CSC faculty member Christopher P. Lucas, M.D., M.P.H. The pilot program launched in May 2008 in five high schools in Rockland and Orange Counties, including James I. O'Neill, Tappan Zee, Chester Academy and Clarkstown North and South. It has the potential to expand nation-wide.

STEPS was made possible with a $500,000 grant from New York State, spear-headed by Senator Thomas P. Morahan. The Institute for Prevention Science at the Child Study Center implements the program.

New York State ranks fourth in the nation on the number of suicide deaths among 10 to 24 year olds. Research indicates that 90 percent of adolescents who die by suicide have a mental disorder at the time of their death.