Stand up and tell schools to start effectively meeting the mental health needs of students

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It is time for us to wake up and respond to the silent cries of our children! In the wake of recent gun violence in our schools, we cannot sit back anymore and continue with the same ineffective protocol and procedures. Too many children are falling through the cracks.Take a stand with me and tell the school board that they hold the power to change everything. It is a solution that has been there all along! It is a program that started in the 60's and just has not ever been implemented effectively.

Each and every public school needs to start utilizing their most vital resource. The school guidance counselor. Currently, guidance counselors are being used by the school as an administrative worker who spends hours on end handling paperwork, proctoring state testing, and managing attendance. This has got to stop. Those job duties are not for someone who sought a degree in counseling. Those job duties are for an office worker/administrator. It is time for the schools to employ the correct persons for those duties and allow the counselor to facilitate the duties of their chosen profession.  The funds are available for the schools to hire an assistant to the counselors for the office administrative work. This would allow counselors the  time that they need to guide and counsel EVERY student.

Every child by law (re:ASCA) is supposed to have equal access and be afforded the use of the guidance department, but with current procedures that has not been logically possible. If the counselor's time is being taken up by the school, how can they offer access to all students? How can they adequately address the mental health needs of students? They can't. So, here is what I propose: A five minute, periodic check-up with a standard Q&A could make all the difference in the world for some students. For others who require more attention to address their mental health needs, follow-up and referrals to outside resources can be implemented. Here is the most important thing: We have to make visits to the guidance counselor mandatory for all students! The old way of instructing broken children to "ask someone for help" is not working! When someone is stuck in a hole or hanging off the edge of a cliff, we don't say to them, "go ask someone for help" we reach out to them and help them out.

A child that is having violent or suicidal thoughts does not have the mental ability to recognize that they need to seek out the help of a guidance counselor. They do not believe that anyone can be trusted or that they genuinely care. The only way that students who are emotionally unstable and withdrawn can be reached, is by placing them in the presence of a trained and educated professional. Someone who can earn their trust by showing them that they are there for them. Someone who has been trained to recognize the warning signs and get the child the help they need. Most importantly, a guidance counselor could be the ONE person who listens and responds with compassion and empathy.

They could "be the one" to a child who has no one. Mandatory guidance counselor visits could also significantly decrease issues like bullying, and it could offer the students who are stuck in the middle, a safe haven where they can inform the guidance department of issues happening on campus and even when it comes to social media. Most of these students do not seek out the guidance department because they do not want attention drawn to them for going to a guidance counselor alone. If everyone has to do it, then there is no more being singled out. There are so many positives that could come from this. Imagine a future generation of emotionally stable children who have been equipped to maintain a healthy mental state and cope with life. Please join me in my effort to save our children! 



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