If one thinks about the amount of time that students spend in school, it is a greater chunk of time than they spend at home. Students go to school to get an education, socialize with peers, and sometimes partake in extracurricular activities. Yet, what happens if a student is dealing with a mental illness or substance abuse? Is the school counselor able to take on the role that the students need? According to an article from the American School Counselor Association, “Research indicates that 20% of students are in need of mental health services, yet only one out of five of these students receive the necessary services” (“The Professional School Counselor and Mental Illness,” 2009 ; Kaffenberger & Seligman, 2007). Furthermore, thinking about the number of students in school and then every one-in-five, means there are tons of students that need more help. Though school counselors are not the top pick when it comes to thinking of professional help, they should be utilized for those students that do need help at school. They need someone to listen, help provide services, and let them know that everything is going to be okay. If students have a qualified professional there to help them, their life will improve exponentially. If there are children in school that need mental health counseling or substance abuse help, are the counselors going to be able to help them? What is the role of mental health and substance abuse counselors in schools?
School Mental Health Counselors
There are many children who are dealing with some form of mental crisis in their lives. They have to attend school for eight hours a day, which may be almost too much for them to handle. They may need someone to talk to or someone to help them understand what is going on. What they need is a mental health counselor at school. However, are their complications with having a certified mental health counselor hired on?
There needs to be more help for students than just the services that they can receive in school. Sometimes, it takes more help from the community in order for the students to receive the adequate amount of care. Kaffenberger and O'Rorke-Trigiani (2013) wrote an article about what a school counselor did to address mental health needs of her students in the school. They stated that, “School counselors are in an ideal position to provide crisis and short-term counseling, conduct the initial phases of assessment and remediation, and work with parents to facilitate appropriate recommendations and referrals when additional therapy is needed. Their relationship with parents is critical to helping parents understand the mental health needs of their children.” Networking is essential for schools because they can find partners in the community to partner with for referrals. Not all youth are going to require the hour or two that a counselor can provide during their school hours. It is essential that the school understands what types of services are needed and where in the...