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Schools in the U.S. have more police than mental health counselors
Aug 08 2019

Schools in the U.S. have more police than mental health counselors

Mental Health

The U.S. Department of Education and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) recently furnished a report stating that schools in the U.S. have more police on their campuses compared to mental health counselors or caregivers. According to the report, on average, American public schools have one mental health counselor per 444 students.

The report further observed that one-third of the school students enrolled in public schools in the U.S. have a police officer on their campus, but they do not have a psychologist, counselor, nurse, or social worker. The ACLU report titled, “Cops and No Counselors: How the Lack of School Mental Health Staff is Harming Students,” stated that access to mental health resources was relatively limited in schools, as the majority of state funding was directed towards police and other security provisions.

70 percent increase in suicide rate

The ACLU report highlighted that the rate of suicide among adolescents increased by 70 percent between 2006 and 2016. It also pointed out that school was often the foremost and more easily accessible option for students who were in need of mental health assistance. Most of the teenage school students were dealing with increased levels of anxiety and depression along with several other types of trauma.

Further, psychologists, school counselors, nurses, and social workers are the first ones to attend to children who were traumatized, stressed, sick, or those whom are likely to hurt themselves or others, especially in schools belonging to low-income districts where other resources are rare. Moreover, students are 21 times more likely to visit health centers at their school than anywhere else.

The report also pointed out that schools which had adequate mental health resources had better attendance and graduation rates, and  relatively lesser disciplinary issues. Talking about the low ratio of mental health counsellor versus students, Eric Sparks, assistant director at the American School Counselor Association, said that he found it quite “absurd” that despite knowing the impact of having mental health resources in school campuses.

He said that with this figure, it was just not feasible for counselors to have a noticeable impact on students struggling with developmental needs. He further added that there were still a lot of schools in the U.S. where a counselor is either not present or is not accessible to student.

Schools lack mental health resources

The report authors challenged the need for police at schools saying that their presence on school campuses contributed to the school-to-prison pipeline, as students felt that they were excessively criminalized. Responding to the challenge, Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) argued that linking the presence of police on school campuses with the lack of counselors is an unfair comparison.

Canady also said that schools should not choose one over the other. The fact remains that schools need mental health specialists as well as counselors, as these individuals were not scared to be exposed to students with mental health issues and were qualified to listen to and address their concerns in the most realistic and effective manner.

Teen mental health treatment at Adeona Healthcare

The stress and changed behavioral pattern observed during teen years may lead to the development of mental health disorders which may impact a teen’s performance at school, their personal relationships, and disturb their eating and sleeping patterns. If you know a teen suffering from teen mental health issues, direct them towards Adeona Healthcare. At our Rancho San Diego mental health rehab facility, adolescents, aged 12 to 17, receive comprehensive behavioral treatment programs for mental health disorders and related issues. The facility offers a combination of individual and group therapies crucial for successful treatment and recovery from mental health issues.

Adeona Healthcare offers effective treatment strategies and a comfortable environment to help teens recover faster from various teen mental health disorders. To know more about our mental health services for teens, call our 24/7 helpline 888-379-9360 and speak with a representative from the admissions team. You can also chat online for further assistance.