What do you think is the most required trait for student success?
Much has been written and spoken about working hard, comparing the best schools, approaching the best colleges, and whatnot. However, the most crucial aspects of student success – mental health and emotional well-being are often ignored.
Yes! Mental health and emotional well-being are extremely important for students as they venture into a world full of stressors. The increasing pressure to be at your academic, social, and personal best burdens students at every step of the way. Riddled with these burdens, opportunities, and bodies, student mental health often takes a back seat and suffers profusely in the whole process of figuring life out (whatever that means).
Student mental health around the world is in grave crisis, and it requires dedicated efforts from the ground level to make a positive impact. And this is exactly why student counselors are the need of the hour. They play a crucial role in providing students with the required support and guidance.
As we mark National Counseling Awareness Month this April, it is important to reflect on the growing importance and need for mental health counselors in educational institutions.
National Counseling Awareness Month is a month-long initiative highlighting the importance of counseling professionals in every sphere of the world. It is also an opportunity to shed the stigma related to seeking professional help.
This National Counseling Awareness Month, let us examine the importance of mental health counselors in student life.
What is the importance of mental health counselors in student life?
Student counselors play a detrimental role in the life of students. They are highly trained professionals who offer students a safe and protective space to unwind from their problems, thoughts, and emotions. They are equipped to provide guidance on a variety of matters, including – personal, academic, family-related, or other issues. Counseling can help students in multiple ways, including the following:
1. It helps build self-confidence and esteem.
Students need support and guidance in fully accepting and embracing their full potential. Throughout their adolescence, students encounter various life situations that make them constantly doubt and question themselves. During such times, they need someone to give them a balanced perspective of their life and help them acknowledge and accept their strengths and weaknesses.
Read more: Navigating Low Self-Esteem In Adolescence
2. It helps improve social and academic skills.
When students learn to understand themselves well, they are also able to excel at other avenues. Equipped with strong counseling support, students can develop problem-solving skills and deal with academic stress better. Additionally, students also find it easier to build healthier social connections.
3. It helps identify and deal with mental health issues.
It is no secret that mental health issues are on the rise among students. In many students, the early signs of these issues can often go undiagnosed. Early intervention and diagnosis are keys to better recovery among patients. Counselors can serve as a primary check post for such symptoms and help students find appropriate channels for help.
In short, counselors play a critical role in student life. However, do you know that most students in our country have little to no access to counseling services? Let us examine the state of student counseling in America to understand the problem better.
Read more: How Mental Health Affects Students
What Is The Scenario Of Student Counseling In America?
Counselors play a critical and often life-altering role in student life. Yet, most schools in the country lack these resources. The average ratio of students to counselors in most American schools is a dismal 430:1. The situation is even worse in states like Arizona, where the ratio stands at 905:1.
As per an analysis of the ratio by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, many schools in the country have no counseling services at all. The scenario is no better in the schools where counseling services are available. The growing mental health concerns among students and the low student counselor numbers mean that the available professionals are stretched thin and overwhelmed. They cannot properly cater to students’ needs, which is, on paper, the primary responsibility.
The lack of adequate student counselors is a gross inequality in our education system that the country needs to solve if it wants its students to perform well on a global level. To alleviate these problems, conscious steps must be taken at the ground level. Since most hiring, funding, and training of school counselors happens at the local level, it is important to advocate for greater support for our students. National Counseling Awareness Month is the perfect opportunity to take potent steps toward addressing these issues. To be a part of the initiative, you can talk to the principals of schools in your area, organize awareness programs, and sensitize students to understand the concept of well-being and mental health.
National Counseling Awareness Month is marked every April to spread awareness about the importance of counseling in every sphere of our lives. We hope this post will help you understand the importance of counseling services for our young people. Let us come together as members of a global society and make a more empathetic and understanding world for our younger generation.
Apart from counseling, therapy is also a potent step to address the growing student mental health crisis. Access to therapy is now easier than ever with the advent of online therapy services. To know more about them, click here.
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