4 Reasons Schools Need Good Counselors

Mental health illnesses worsened during the pandemic, compelling schools to provide adolescents with professional support and facilitative environments today. According to Mental Health America, over 15% of youth have suffered from at least one major depressive episode in 2021. 

According to the State of Student Mental Health Survey, adolescent stress has worsened considerably, demanding multifaceted interventions to extend adequate support. Administrative staff and teachers who lack clinical and psychological training are ill-equipped to address these challenges and offer support. 

4 Reasons Schools Need Good Counselors

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Schools rely on licensed counselors to help students combat their unique adversities and map out paths to academic growth and future success. Read on to explore compelling reasons why schools need empathetic and trained counselors to empower and uplift students. 

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Instilling Healthy Coping Mechanisms 

Students come from diverse privileged and underprivileged backgrounds, overwhelmed by the burdens of unique adversities and life challenges. Challenges like adolescent depression, emotional abuse, physical abuse, parental neglect, and substance abuse can expose them to grave harm. High school students who are navigating the challenges of puberty, hormonal disruptions, and mental trauma are exposed to alarming risk factors. 

When denied adequate support, students’ young minds fail to comprehend and cope with the adversities, spiraling into mental health disorders. The overwhelming burden of emotional abuse or parental neglect can push adolescents toward self-harm and suicide ideation. In such situations, a school counselors role is paramount in empowering and uplifting students with healthy coping mechanisms. 

Counselors provide students with a safe space to open up and unload the burden of their adverse experiences. It’s common for adolescents to hide emotional abuse and parental neglect out of loyalty to their dismissive parents. Counselors can provide far-reaching mental and social support, even engaging social workers if the situation demands an intervention. 

Counselors steer students struggling with anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicide ideation toward self-love through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). They help adolescents understand that their circumstances aren’t their fault and that a bright future awaits. Counselors help the youth develop healthy coping mechanisms and unlearn disruptive defense mechanisms that harm their emotional well-being. 

Without the support of a concerned school counselor, students struggling with adversities have nowhere to turn. Not all adolescents have access to mental health services, and having adequate support at school can transform their lives. 

Addressing Learning Challenges Without Harsh Judgments  

Every classroom packs up a mix of confident, extroverted students brimming with energy and shy introverts who struggle to interact. Every student is unique, boasting an individualized profile of learning strengths and weaknesses. The standardized testing system can be unkind and discriminatory, for it may fail to account for the unique learning challenges of diverse students. 

A high school student who fails in mathematics can do exceptionally well in woodwork and sports. Likewise, a student who doesn’t perform well in debates can solve complex mathematical equations without textbook learning. Every learner must overcome unique challenges to map out an individualized journey to academic growth and success.

As the saying goes, you cannot measure the intelligence of a fish by how fast it climbs a tree. Counselors help students address their underlying learning difficulties to facilitate well-rounded academic experiences for all. Some students are gifted visual thinkers who love playing with words, while others are more comfortable with numbers. Some struggle with language processing complications, while others have difficulty focusing attention with ADHD-like symptoms. 

It’s natural for teachers to lose patience when handling large batches of students. Besides, teachers aren’t academically prepared or professionally trained to address these issues with practical intervention. A school counselor can help students overcome learning challenges with personalized plans to address their underlying difficulties. Counselors don’t judge or admonish students with harshness; they understand and provide the right resources. 

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Countering Bullying and Designing Disciplining Interventions 

Did you know that around 1 in 5 high school students has experienced bullying on school premises? A CDC report highlights alarming statistics of students bullied on school property and online across social media platforms. The report reveals that 1 in 6 high school students have experienced cyberbullying, while 33% of middle schoolers have suffered bullying online. 

The report further highlights that around 14% of public schools have revealed that bullying is the most alarming and frequent disciplining challenge. Bullying occurs in various forms, such as physical violence, name-calling and teasing, excluding peers, and spreading rumors. Bullies can physically assault their victims, disrupt their social lives and damage their belongings. 

School administrators and teachers lacking mental health exposure and training are not equipped to address this challenge. Admonishing and punishing students who bully their peers is not a helpful approach to address this issue. It is important to understand that students who bully their mates are subjected to emotional or physical abuse at home. 

No one is born a bully. Children and adolescents learn abuse, harshness, and unkindness from their social settings, especially their parents. A child engaged in bullying others is most likely a victim of bullying. It’s the counselor’s job to investigate this issue and devise a disciplining intervention that benefits the bully and the victim. 

Telling children or teenagers they are bullies and deserve punishment sets the stage for lifelong suffering and adversities. Counselors address such issues by helping bullies unlearn patterns of abuse and embrace empathy and compassion. 

Supporting Academic Growth and Positive Outcomes 

It’s natural for students, especially teenagers gearing up for college, to feel overwhelmed about their academic and professional future. They struggle with the burdens of examinations, competitive tests, and securing admissions to their favorite colleges. Counselors help students manage anxiety and stress with healthy interventions to elevate their emotional and mental well-being. 

Students struggling with confusion over subject selections and choosing the right majors can rely on counselors for guidance and support. Counselors don’t tell students which college they should apply to and which subject to choose. Instead, they provide a supportive and safe environment where students can understand their aspirations and connect with their core passions. 

Final Thoughts 

Children and teenagers succumb to the overwhelming burdens of emotional turmoil, abuse, bullying, and adverse social circumstances. Since they cannot rationalize these experiences, they typically blame themselves and engage in self-harm. 

Students struggling with parental abuse and neglect have to fight the hardest battles. Having a compassionate and reliable counselor at school provides struggling young minds with a safe space to unburden themselves. 

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