The roles of mental health counselors in schools


Left undiagnosed, mental health disorders among students can cause problems at home and in the classroom. Considering the importance of preparing young people for today’s complex and rapidly changing world, it is no wonder that most academic institutions are turning to mental health counselors to help students build resilience, develop coping strategies and promote a positive sense of self.

Mental health among younger people

Mental health issues among teenagers and young adults are increasing rapidly. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, over 15% of youth aged 6 to 17 experienced a mental health disorder in 2020. It also reports that one in six adolescents aged 12 to 17 suffered a significant depressive episode during the same year.

Mental health counselors are certified professionals who treat the cognitive, emotional and behavioral components of mental health. They work with individuals, families, groups and couples across various settings in promoting healthy lifestyles, identifying personal stressors and functioning levels, and preserving or restoring mental health. Across educational settings, mental health counselors use and develop standards to assess student growth and development, while performing a range of roles.

Early intervention

Mental health is vital to every student’s overall well-being. Unfortunately, mental health issues can be challenging to identify, especially in their early stages. According to an article by CBS News, Mental Health America data suggested that over 60% of American students living with depression, autism spectrum disorders, psychosis and several other mental health issues, do not undergo treatment.

A significant reason contributing to young adults and teenagers refusing treatment is the stigma tied to suffering from mental health disorders. It takes skilled mental health professionals to enable schools to establish a supportive and nurturing environment where students feel comfortable seeking help. Studying for an online Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from an accredited university such as American International College will help students to become adept in counseling theories and consultation which is especially important since early diagnosis can clear up uncertainty in young minds, allow them to come to terms with any condition they have and learn more about how it might affect their daily lives. Students can hope to graduate with expert knowledge in crisis intervention and trauma-informed care, as well as short-term and long-term counseling methods to aid communities and social crises.

Depending on the circumstances, mental health professionals perform early interventions by conducting assessments and screenings to determine students who may be struggling with cognitive health disorders. Although there is no standard approach, mental health counselors often use standardized tools to identify common mental health concerns such as ADHD, anxiety and depression. They may also involve families in the intervention process to ensure students get adequate support, share concerns and adopt home-based strategies to improve their mental health.

Crisis intervention

Academic pressure on students has reached unprecedented levels. The stress of making good grades, landing the best internships and getting into the right college can often take a significant toll on their mental health. This makes crisis intervention even more essential in helping students respond quickly and positively to changes beyond their control. Through effective crisis intervention, mental health professionals can build a trusting relationship with students while helping them regulate their emotions and cope with specific situations.

By addressing immediate concerns, mental health counselors can provide a supportive environment that helps prevent harm and reduce the impact of the crisis on the student’s mental and emotional health. The reality is mental health issues can significantly impact a student’s ability to learn, focus and engage in academic activities. Through crisis intervention, mental health counselors can help students regain their equilibrium and continue to participate actively in achieving their academic goals.

Other than building a rapport, mental health counselors perform crisis interventions among students by assessing the severity of the student’s crisis, including their risk of self-harm or harm to others. Doing so allows mental health counselors to identify appropriate intervention strategies and implement safety measures for the students and those around them. They may also work with academic staff members in developing a crisis resolution plan that outlines steps students can take to manage their mental health and well-being as well as where they can seek further help if needed.

Collaboration with school staff

Mental health counselors work with school staff by creating a cohesive support system that addresses a range of student mental health needs. Usually, mental health counselors engage in consultation and collaboration meetings with school administrators, teachers and support staff to discuss students’ mental health concerns, share observations and collaborate on intervention strategies.

During these meetings, mental health counselors often share relevant data and information regarding the progress a student is making, behavioral observations and their emotional well-being to provide a comprehensive overview of the support required and the effectiveness of existing interventions. Mental health counselors also collaborate with school staff in several other ways to improve students’ mental well-being.

Offer guidance and resources: Mental health counselors provide guidance to school staff on determining signs of mental health concerns in students and how to respond appropriately. They often provide resources such as guidelines, handouts and referral information for supporting students undergoing mental health challenges.

Collaborative intervention planning: In the event that a student needs immediate mental health support, counselors work with school staff to develop intervention plans. This allows mental health counselors to provide a comprehensive support system that addresses the student’s academic, social and emotional needs.

Advocate for mental health awareness: Mental health counselors in schools advocate for the integration of mental health awareness and support within academic circles. They may collaborate with staff to organize mental health awareness events and establish supportive environments to reduce the stigma associated with seeking mental health assistance.

When mental health counselors work closely with school staff, they can tailor support to individual student needs by considering academic and emotional components. This ultimately leads to more effective assistance and the optimization of the available support mechanism for students. The moment academic and emotional components are aligned, mental health counselors and academic staff members can ensure a cohesive and realistic approach to student development while promoting a sense of well-being and achievement.

Working as a mental health counselor in academic settings

As students continue to experience complex emotional, social and behavioral challenges, competent mental health counselors are needed more than ever. With a trained mental health counselor, academic institutions can address a diverse range of student needs, promote resilience and emotional growth, and establish a nurturing and positive community.


5 Styles of Streaming

Previous article

Examining Alternative Financing Options for Small Businesses in the Changing Economic Landscape

Next article

You may also like


Comments are closed.

More in Education