As a school counselor you know it’s crucial to understand that students don’t usually seek help for mental health issues on their own, and families might not know where to start when it comes to finding support.
That’s why it’s so important for you to take an active role in connecting your students with the resources they need.
According to a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, “adolescents are often reluctant to seek help for mental health concerns due to a lack of knowledge about available resources and the perceived stigma surrounding help-seeking” (Crosby et al., 2019). As a school counselor, you can play a vital role in breaking down these barriers by providing information about available mental health services and helping to reduce the stigma associated with seeking help.
Another study in the Journal of School Counseling found that “families often lack knowledge about mental health services and may struggle to navigate the healthcare system on their own” (Chafouleas et al., 2020). This can be especially true for families who are new to the area or for those who are experiencing mental health issues for the first time. As a school counselor, you can help bridge this gap by providing families with information about available resources, including community mental health providers, and offering support as they navigate the healthcare system.
In summary, students often don’t seek help for mental health issues, and families may not know where to start when looking for support. As a school counselor, you have the opportunity to make a real difference by providing information about available resources, breaking down stigma, and helping families navigate the healthcare system. By taking an active role in connecting your students with the resources they need, you can help promote positive mental health outcomes for your students and their families.
Did you know that as a school counselor, you can help increase a student’s willingness to engage in treatment and improve their outcomes by giving them a “warm handoff” to an outside mental health provider?
This means that you can help them schedule a free consultation, and a staff member from your school or a family member is welcome to join them during the consultation.
According to a study by the Journal of Child and Family Studies, students who received a warm handoff from school-based mental health providers to community providers had higher rates of engagement in treatment and better clinical outcomes than those who received a referral and appointment information alone (Lee et al., 2020). So, it’s worth taking the extra step to make a warm handoff.
The National Institute of Mental Health reports that many individuals avoid seeking mental health treatment due to stigma and fear of negative social consequences (NIMH, 2021). However, when a student receives a warm handoff from a trusted school counselor to a community mental health provider, they may feel more comfortable seeking treatment because they have a personal connection to the provider and know that someone they trust is recommending the treatment.
In an article published by Psychology Today, clinical psychologist Dr. Suzanne Degges-White explains that students who trust their school counselors are more likely to seek out their help and to act on their recommendations (Degges-White, 2019). This trust can extend to outside mental health providers when a school counselor provides a warm handoff. The student may be more likely to trust the outside provider because they trust the school counselor who is making the referral.
In conclusion, a warm handoff from a school counselor to an outside mental health provider can help increase a student’s engagement in treatment, improve their outcomes, and overcome the stigma and fear associated with seeking mental health treatment. So, go ahead and make that warm handoff and help your students get the support they need!