Turn 2 Us (T2U) is a school-based mental health promotion and prevention program in partnership between NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, Derek Jeter's Turn2 Foundation, and public elementary schools in Washington Heights/Inwood.
Turn 2 Us was developed in 2001 in response to:
- high rates of referrals from local elementary schools to the pediatric children's psychiatric emergency room;
- Mental health concerns are prevalent among youth, especially in marginalized and underserved populations. According to the National Association of Mental Illness (2019), nearly 1 in 6 children have a mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder.
- According to data from the Children's Hospital Association, during the first three quarters of 2021, there were over 47,000 mental health visits to Emergency Departments at 38 children's hospitals in the country. These numbers demonstrate a 40% increase compared to December 2020.
- cumulative and chronic demographic stressors within the community that elevate risk factors for at-risk behaviors and mental health disorders.
- Challenges associated with social determinants of health, including poverty and poor-quality housing, adverse childhood experiences, and immigration-related stressors, exacerbate these mental health challenges.
Turn 2 Us is dedicated to promoting mental health and academic success in at-risk children. We hope to empower the entire school community (students, parents/caregivers, and school staff) to engage in healthy lifestyle practices that promote well-being. The program aims to enhance the mental health literacy of school personnel and parents/caregivers so they are best equipped to ensure our youths' progress emotionally, socially, and academically.
T2U aims to raise awareness of the importance of mental health even in the absence of mental health conditions and decrease the stigma associated with mental health. T2U recognizes that Upper Manhattan demonstrates resilience in overcoming such challenges. In support of their resilience, T2U provides an array of services to promote the well-being of youth in our community.