Increased provision of mental health services in schools in New Zealand.

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Schools are currently legally required to have a specifically trained guidance counselor who can support and provide help for students and other staff through the process. School guidance counsellors are specialised education professionals who are trained to deal with students who have personal, social or behavioural issues that have the potential to put a student’s well being, learning and school achievement at risk. Guidance counsellors aim to promote both student wellbeing and educational outcomes. Providing effective guidance and counselling for students is an essential part of schools’ pastoral care of students.

However, schools currently have no requirements on the provision of mental health services. There is no compulsory counsellor to student ratio which gives schools an indication on the amount of counsellors they need in relation to the number of students. Therefore schools have the authority to decide the way in which their funding provided from the Ministry of Education is used.

It seems to be avoided but we need to address the issue of teen mental health in New Zealand. Being that school is the most accessible place for youth, regardless of wealth, gender, race or background, this issue should be tackled within schools. To do this an increase in guidance counsellors schools is needed and should be a requirement. 

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