One of the underlying health issues faced by youth is the lack of social & emotional support services. Because of this lack of resources GHGH youth leaders are advocating for….drumroll please…..having full time non-academic counselors at all Monterey County High Schools!
Our research has shown youth face many barriers in accessing non-academic school-based counselor services. We want to work together with school administrators, the community and policy-makers to address these barriers.
GHGH youth have listed the below as top advocacy priorities for creating youth-friendly non-academic counselor services on school campuses:
- REDUCE ADMINISTRATIVE BARRIERS TO ACCESSING COUNSELOR SERVICES
- INCREASE THE QUANTITY OF COUNSELOR SERVICES
- EDUCATE STUDENTS ON NON-ACADEMIC COUNSELOR SUPPORT SERVICES OFFERED
You may be saying to yourself…whoa, those are kind of big goals. And, yes, they are. But they are absolutely attainable and worthwhile goals which will support the health and success of youth in Monterey County.
Plus, GHGH youth leaders have come up with some possible solutions to some of these issues:
REDUCE ADMINISTRATIVE BARRIERS TO ACCESSING COUNSELOR SERVICES
- Lack of enforcement of confidentiality/privacy for students clients. GHGH Youth will ask administrators to post confidentiality rules and regulations for ALL staff (not just counselors) in regards to youth who access counselor services.
- Many schools’ referral system is not youth-friendly or safe. For example, youth usually need to be referred by a school staff member and parents are contacted and asked for permission to see the youth. GHGH Youth will ask administrators review and change referral processes so that they are more youth friendly such as limiting parent contact until after youth provides non-mandatory consent.
INCREASE QUANTITY OF COUNSELOR SERVICES
- Many schools are only able to provide non-academic counselor services a few times a month and on a limited schedule. This means that students are not heard on a timely basis or cannot do any drop-in visits when they might be needing extra support. GHGH youth want to work with districts to allocate more funding to counselor services based at schools with the goal of having 2 non-academic counselors full time at schools
EDUCATE STUDENTS ON NON-ACADEMIC COUNSELOR SERVICES OFFERED
- GHGH leaders have polled their peers and noticed that few students are aware of available counselor services or understand what the service can provide in terms of supporting their social & emotional health. GHGH youth want to work with school administration and counselors to do outreach and education to the student body and inform them of services provided and the process for accessing the services.
We know that these changes will require a concentrated effort from youth, school administrations, districts and the county. But, we know that the goal can impact youth health in a positive way for generations to come.
And, we need your help! If you have research, journalism, legal, accounting, clinical (social worker) experience we need your voice and your skill set, please contact us!