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School Counselors Support Students’ Mental Health

Whether a student is in grade school or their senior year of high school, good mental health is just as important as general health for academic success. One of the many roles of a Licensed School Counselor is to help students maintain good mental health. If a student is struggling, School Counselors can provide extra one-on-one support to help them work through their feelings. 

“Being in the right state of mind is essential to being present in the classroom,” says Licensed School Counselor, Amber Remackel, “If a student is constantly worried about things outside of school or dealing with feelings of anxiety, they aren’t able to focus on the lesson their teacher is giving.” 

Setting the Foundation

In elementary school, the counselors work with the students on things like mindfulness. Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and to not overly react or be overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. By focusing on the body as a whole and practicing mindfulness techniques, students learn how to keep their focus and attention on the task at hand. Mindfulness can be taught in both small group and large group settings. 

At all levels School Counselors work with students on coping skills and can connect the student and their families to other necessary resources or refer them to the ACP School Psychologist. “We’re around to offer students a safe place to work through their feelings,” says Middle School Counselor Jim Bierma, “We can offer guidance and help them create strategies to manage their mental health and increase overall happiness.”

School Counselors can help with conflict resolution between peers or smaller groups of students with similar anxieties. They give the students a place to be comfortable sharing and the understanding that they are not alone in their feelings. The focus is to give students the opportunity to build their confidence in a safe setting with others they trust and learn skills to be more successful in those specific areas. By having the one-on-one space or the small group setting to work through these things, it allows the student to put those feelings and anxieties aside while they are in their classroom setting.

In the classroom setting, the counselors teach group lessons that can help the students learn how to maintain good mental health. Some of the classroom lesson topics include:

  • Positive relationship and friendship skills: collaboration, balance of power, respect, advocacy and listening skills, and conflict management
  • Proactive and reactive stress management: the effect of exercise on mental health, identifying strengths, and building a strong sense of self
  • Bully prevention: rumors, harassment, equity, and respect

How to Get Help

If a student is in need of extra support there are a few ways they can receive help. When a student feels comfortable enough they can advocate for themselves to see a counselor or stop at their school counselor’s office. Sometimes teachers will notice something off about a student and suggest they spend some time with the school counselor to work through any feelings they are having. Another way is for families to reach out to their student’s teacher or counselor and request a meeting. If needed, the Licensed School Counselor can work with families to have the student meet with the School Psychologist.

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