During the 2021-2022 school year, the average student-to-counselor ratio was 408-to-1. The American School Counselor Association has recommended a ratio of 250-to-1 since 1965.
The added layers of stress, social isolation, and life disruption during the pandemic has led to dire mental health outcomes, with adolescents even showing accelerated brain aging. The “soaring rates of mental health challenges” among youth prompted a group of national health organizations to declare a national state of emergency in children’s mental health in October 2021, saying that the crisis was “inextricably tied to the stress brought on by COVID-19.”
The limited supply of mental health professionals has created significantly longer wait times for students — more than a year, in some cases, said Dr. Christine Crawford, associate medical director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
“My overall concern is not about what’s happening, present day,” Crawford said. “I’m worried about the impact of the cumulative effects of all these delays in entering mental health care and how that’s going to alter the trajectory for a lot of these kids.”
The hurdles to providing adequate mental health services in schools are multifaceted, including insufficient staff to manage caseloads, lack of licensed professionals, and limited funding.
Read more at CapitalBNews.org.
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