Welcome to my blog. I am passionate about shining a light on the inconsistency of the role of the School Counselor within schools. Too often, the role has been usurped in favor of using the counselor as a psuedo-assistant principal, Dean, Special Education Chair, Record-Keeper, etc. Parents and the community expect a counselor. If we advertise that the school has a counselor by hiring a trained counselor, then we should allow that person to use that unique set of skills from their training to indeed provide support and mental health services. That, indeed, is what the community is expecting.
Showcasing this need for School Counselors to act as school counselors is the primary focus of this blog. To that end, we're going to begin with calling your attention to some statistics and a good old fashioned rationale.
Need for School Mental Health Services
• Approximately 2.2 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 reported a major depressive episode in the past year
and nearly 60% of them did not receive any treatment (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
• According to the U.S. Surgeon General, in the course of a year approximately 20% of children and
adolescents in the U.S. experience signs and symptoms of a mental health problem and 5% experience
“extreme functional impairment” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1999).
• The dropout rate for students with severe emotional and behavioral needs is approximately twice that of
other students (Lehr et al., 2004).
• Two thirds of school districts reported in the 2002-03 school year that the need for mental health
services had increased since the previous year, and one third reported that funding for mental health
services had decreased in that time (Foster et al, 2005).
Rationale for Providing Mental Health Services in Schools
• To effectively address barriers to learning, schools must weave resources into a cohesive and integrated
continuum of interventions that promote healthy development and prevent problems; allow for early
intervention to address problems as soon after onset as feasible; and that provide assistance to those with
chronic and severe problems (Adelman & Taylor, 2006).
• The U.S. Surgeon General considers schools to be a major setting for the potential recognition of mental
disorders in children and adolescents, while acknowledging that trained staff and options for referral to
specialty care are limited (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1999).
• Students are substantially more likely to seek help when school-based mental health services are available
(American Counseling Association, American School Counselor Association, National Association of School Psychologists, School Social Work Association of America)