Mental Health Practices in Schools
The mental health of students has increasingly declined over the last few decades. According to a 2010 National Survey of Counseling Center Directors, 44 percent of their clients had a severe psychological problem. This was a sharp increase from 16 percent in 2000. The most common malady was depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, alcohol abuse, eating disorders, and self-injury. The deficit of counselors in comparison to the mentally ill is the root cause of the long wait time. As the student body grows so does the list of the mentally ill. The recent average ratio is one clinician for every 1500 students. Unfortunately, along with this decline in mental health those given power to help have also been insufficient. Due to this lack of help, most schools (large and small) currently require a few weeks wait to get an introductory prognosis visit. This leaves those seeking help, inept in dealing with many difficult emotions and situations. Some have died or attempted death as a result of this inability to counsel the emotionally injured, in a timely manner. Many college counseling directors have stepped up to the challenge and met it head on with creative solutions. Some clinicians have asked patients they are currently helping if they can reduce their interaction to help with the increasing number of students needing help. While others also focus on outreach campaigns and services that take the education on how to handle crisis’ to the public. Other public support groups and “safe spaces” have also come about to help in this great time of need. Most notably, as of late is the online community. It is quickly becoming the most beneficial asset to all community outreach programs. Most counselors and therapists are now exploring the idea of utilizing this instant form of communication to help aid in the recovery process. As individual communities become involved with the pursuit of healing mental health, the numbers of the unhealthy are naturally diminishing, as is the need for more school psychiatrists.