After nearly 14 years working in practice with minors, plus having worked in treatment group homes for nearly 4 years before that, I’ve treated literally thousands of youth. To be sure, children and mental health is a unique task!
Today as parents often wonder about sending a youth to school counselors they have many questions. It can seem scary, embarrassing and safety risks are a concern as well. In setting up and supervising school counseling programs, common questions that are asked (and answered) are listed below. These FAQS are not only helpful to youth and parents working with counselings programs in schools, but also to the teachers and personnel there too!
Confidentiality is complex in mental health services and school settings due to what can seem like sometimes conflicting privacy policies (HIPAA for medical records, FERPA for educational records and then there’s the Right to Information Act for public employee email communications). To learn more about the school counseling program implementation services click here.
While you’re here, check out how the folks from the Genetic Science Learning Center have put together a cool video on ways brain is affected by certain drugs, And here’s a bit more looking at medications and safety and trauma in children: Considerations if medications are prescribed, Children and PTSD and Gun Violence and Gun Safety Protocols in School Settings!
Prefer a video to add to the info gathering? Here’s few FAQS to consider when a youth is referred or being seen for mental health services in the school setting:
A FEW OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER
If you have been notified by your child’s school that mental health counseling is needed, you should contact school administrators (the Principal, Guidance Office, or a School Board member) and ask if the school district offers mental health counseling services. If your child has been identified as an ESE student and there is an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), the IEP might specify counseling services. If the school does not offer such services, and it is in the IEP, the district can contract for mental health counseling services.
LaRose and the school counseling services program has been contracted in a few school districts since 2005 – some numbering 14 years. Those programs have been evaluated and successfully transitioned into the districts. If counseling services are provided at your specific school, and you want your child to be seen your permission is needed—CLICK HERE. A referral form from the school must also be submitted (see your guidance counselor).
COMMON CONCERNS …
□ People will think my child is “crazy.
□ Everyone will make fun of my child.
□ Our problems are no else’s business.
□ We can solve our own problems.
□ I must be a bad parent if my kid needs counseling.
□ Anyone who thinks my child needs counseling, must have a problem themselves.
□ Once you start counseling, you never stop.
OTHER THOUGHTS …
□ Most children who go to a school counselor will not be diagnosed with any kind of mental disorder. Still, children face problems that require the help of a trained professional.
□ Confidentiality is protected by state law and it ensures that only authorized people will know about counseling. Other people will not know unless you tell someone.
□ Problems exist in every family; most need some kind of help in solving them.
□ This is often very true. Counseling will help your child learn out how to solve many problems.
□ Parenting is not always the problem. Children have struggles at home, but they can also have struggles in school.
□ It is the intention of the school to help your child be successful in the classroom. Referrals to counseling are about solving problems that appear at school.
□ Counseling will be provided during the school year, and only as long as you believe it is necessary. If your child does not want to participate in counseling, it will not be required – counseling really is your (and your child’s) choice.
Be aware that counseling and counselors may only be available certain days and times each week (depending on the school and how the program is structured). Often space for counseling is limited. If you want your child to be seen by a counselor you’ll probably be asked, as the guardian, to sign a standard permission slip and have the school submit some kind of a referral form as quickly as possible.
Know that counseling can assist your child in many areas, similar to how it helps adults: academics, in behavior, in social skills, problem solving, expressing themselves, sorting out matters of sexuality, dealing the pressures of others – and more!
If you have a specific problem that you’ve had troubles getting worked out in your family with your child, and maybe they’ve been seen by a number of professionals without a good bit of success – and you’d like to talk more about whether or not your child would be a good candidate for counseling schedule an initial family consultation today.