On March 21, 2019, Gov. Gary Herbert signed HB81 regarding the role of school counselors. As a mother and social work student, I want to thank Rep. Susan Pulsipher, R-South Jordan, who sponsored the bill. The bill’s intent is to allow school counselors more time to focus on the emotional needs of the student body they serve, rather than proctoring tests or adjusting schedules.Comment on this story
According to the National Institute of Mental Health’s website, an estimated 31.9 percent of adolescents between the ages of 13 to 18 will experience an anxiety disorder at some point. Further, for the year 2017, it was estimated that 2.3 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 had at least one major depressive episode with major impairment. It seems evident our kids are struggling. Providing adolescents more access to mental health services while at school could ensure counseling that might otherwise be unavailable to them. Further, it could help decrease absenteeism, dropout rates, self-harm and suicide.
The state board has until July 1, 2019 to determine the recommendations for the role of school counselors. I encourage concerned citizens to advocate that school counselors be utilized more within our schools for their expertise and training in mental health counseling.