School counselors, psychologists feel pressure in rural districts

School counselors help students with stress. “There’s a lot of need, in terms of behaviors,” said school psychologist Brandy Rose. Educational counselors, therapists and psychologists also feel this pressure. “This week has been difficult,” said Rose, who travels between rural counties to offer support within the school setting. “Every day I had to put down the computer and work. Help in crisis situations.” When you imagine a school counselor, you might imagine someone behind a desk, buried in schedules or letters of recommendation from a college. In reality, however, they set out, visiting classrooms, patrolling the hallways and working one-on-one with students. “School counselors, bless their souls,” said Ronel Jackson, a certified mental health expert. “They belong to everyone. A point person.” The American School Counselors Association calls no more than 250 students per counselor. “I have 300 students on my load right now,” Beatrice High School advisor Tracy Post said, emphasizing it was possible for him. In other examples, the Iowa Department of Education reports one counselor in the Fremont Mills Community School District, which numbers 524 students. IDE reports five counselors in Glenwood Community School District, which has about 2,100 students. “It’s really unacceptable,” said Cindy Swanson of the Iowa Education Association, a former social worker at the school. “They are struggling to meet the needs of the students and the needs today are great.” The demands on mental health are greater than ever. Anxiety-induced anxiety did not help, according to Swanson and Post. “The hard part is you take care of the kids, and you want everyone to be good and successful at school,” Post said. “And it doesn’t always happen that way.” In an age where technology is always at hand, from the classroom to the cafeteria, mental health consultants and professionals are left to deal with the consequences of cyberbullying. “They are fighting right. Now not only to change but also to save the lives of students in their counties,” Swanson said. In Nebraska, school counselors are supported by educational service units or ESUs. ESU employees, like Rose and Ronel, see firsthand how challenging the role can be, even for those who see it as a vocation. “If you get hit or kicked, even just talking to him like some of the kids talk to them, it can be emptied of staff,” Rose said. But Post said seeing successful students is worth the hardships. “This is a great, great life, a great career for me,” Post said. “It’s not for everyone.”

School counselors help students with stress.

“There’s a lot of need, in terms of behaviors,” said school psychologist Brandy Rose.

Educational counselors, therapists and psychologists also feel this pressure.

“This week has been difficult,” said Rose, who travels between rural counties to offer support within the school setting, “Every day I had to put down the computer and work and help in crisis situations.”

When you imagine a school counselor, you may imagine someone behind a desk, buried in schedules or college letters of recommendation. In reality, however, they set off, visiting classrooms, patrolling the hallways and working one-on-one with students.

“School counselors, bless their souls,” said Ronel Jackson, a certified mental health expert. “They’re everyone’s point.”

The American School Counselors Association calls no more than 250 students per counselor.

“I have 300 students on my load right now,” Beatrice High School advisor Tracy Post said, emphasizing it was possible for him.

In other examples, the Iowa Department of Education reports one counselor in the Fremont Mills Community School District, which numbers 524 students. IDE reports five counselors in Glenwood Community School District, which has about 2,100 students.

“It’s really unacceptable,” said Cindy Swanson of the Iowa Education Association, a former social worker at the school. “They are struggling to meet the needs of the students and the needs today are great.”

The demands on mental health are greater than ever. Anxiety-induced anxiety did not help, according to Swanson and Post.

“The hard part is you take care of the kids, and you want everyone to be good and successful at school,” Post said, “and it doesn’t always happen that way.”

In an age where technology is always at hand, from the classroom to the cafeteria, mental health consultants and professionals are left to deal with the consequences of cyberbullying.

“They are currently struggling not only to change but also to save the lives of students in their counties,” Swanson said.

In Nebraska, school counselors are supported by educational service units or ESUs.

ESU employees, like Rose and Ronel, see firsthand how challenging the role can be, even for those who see it as a vocation.

“If you get hit or kicked, even just talking to them like some of the kids talk to them, it can be emptied of staff,” Rose said.

But Post said that seeing successful students is worth the hardships.

“This is a great, great life, a great career for me,” Post said, “it’s not for everyone.”

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