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How to Celebrate National School Counseling Week in
Your School

According to the American School Counselor Association website, school counselors play principal roles in school districts, enabling students to solve issues they face at home or in the classroom.

National School Counseling Week celebrates way counselors contribute to and inspire U.S. school systems.

When is National School Counseling Week in 2020?

In 2020, National School Counseling Week will be February celebrated 3-7.

What is National School Counseling Week, and why do we observe it?

The ASCA website indicates that National School Counseling Week “highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career.” 

Why should we praise school counselors?

School counselors play an essential role in helping students face numerous challenges. In Pasadena Now, Alvin Nash, President of United Teachers of Pasadena, said counselors allow K-12 students to recognize their own strengths; work with parents to help them rise above obstacles in raising their children; and inspire educators to have their students set healthy, positive goals.

What does a school counselor do?

Counselors are licensed educators who address students’ academic, career, and social/emotional development needs “by designing, implementing, evaluating, and enhancing a comprehensive school counseling program that promotes and enhances student success,” according to ASCA. They can work in elementary, middle, or high schools or in district supervisory roles.

Specifically, school counselors can benefit students of color and low-income students. Research connects high student-to-counselor ratios in low-income schools with better outcomes, including improved attendance, fewer disciplinary incidents, and higher graduation rates.

The need for school counselors has also been a contested issue amid teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Amid the teachers’ union’s demands are more nurses, librarians, and academic counselors in understaffed schools or those who don’t have employees to fill these positions at all. The ASCA states that the average student-to-counselor ratio is 464 to 1, though the organization recommends that schools maintain a 250-to-1 ratio.

What can I do to honor school counselors?

For starters, you can encourage your students to thank their school counselors when they see them in the hallway or when they visit their office. Teachers can also decorate their doors with signs expressing gratitude for the work school counselors do and the difference they make in students’ lives.

Suicide Prevention Hotline to Implement Three-digit
Number for Mental Health Emergencies: 988

Federal regulators recently announced that a three-digit suicide prevention hotline number will soon simplify seeking emergency mental health help similar to calling 911.

When the months-long process is finalized, U.S. residents can call 988 for help in a mental health emergency, just as 911 connects people in need to first-responders for other emergencies.

Presently, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline uses a 10-digit number, 800-273-TALK (8255). That number routes callers to one of 163 crisis centers, where counselors responded to 2.2 million calls last year.

“The three-digit number is really going to be a breakthrough in terms of reaching people in a crisis,” said Dwight Holton, CEO of Lines for Life, a suicide prevention nonprofit. “No one is embarrassed to call 911 for a fire or an emergency. No one should be embarrassed to call 988 for a mental health emergency.”

It’s not a hotline, it’s a ‘warmline’: It provides mental health prior to a crisis escalating.

A recent release from the Federal Communications Commission indicates that formal rule-making on the 988 number has begun – it’s a process that began with a congressional statute in 2018 and was the subject of an FCC report released in August.

Up to now, the FCC has only proposed requiring all telephone service providers to accommodate the 988 number within 18 months. The next step is a comment period on the implementation, including the project’s time frame.

Last year, a USA TODAY investigation stated that more than 47,000 Americans killed themselves in 2017, citing a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. Since 1999, the suicide rate has climbed 33%. 

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and is frequently referred to a public health emergency.

“There’s been so much more put into every one of those causes of death than suicide…If you didn’t do anything for heart disease and you didn’t do anything for Cancer, then you’d see those rates rise, too.” John Draper, Director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, told USA TODAY last year.

Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they dial 741741. National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255