The most efficient way to deliver comprehensive mental health support to students is through school counseling services that operate in line with best practices, and with staffing that supports appropriate student-to-school counselor ratios.
Both in terms of the existing workforce and scope of practice, school counselors represent the largest group of student services professionals in Pennsylvania, and they work with all students on their caseload, not only students who are identified as needing support or intervention.
School counselors work together with other student services professionals to support the developmental needs of students. School counselors deliver proactive and preventative services to students to address their developmental needs, and they are also available for students when responsive or crisis needs arise (i.e. primary care). School counselors collaborate with/refer students and families to other student services professionals, such as school psychologists or school social workers, when the need for targeted or intensive interventions and programming (i.e. complex care) arise.
Student services professionals also partner with community and agency-based services for students when needs extend beyond what a school is able to provide.
While all student services professionals contribute to the health and wellness of students in our schools, understanding the unique expertise and scope of practice can help schools utilize these professionals as efficiently and effectively as possible.