My Project’s Cause

Elizabeth V -

For my blog post today I’m taking a break from updates since I just posted those. Instead I’ll be sharing more about the cause that I hope this project ends up helping. 

The broader goal of my project is to spread awareness regarding the importance of mental health resources in schools and the significance of dedicating resources to counseling in schools. I spent yesterday going over articles explaining the current funding that Arizona schools receive for counseling services. I found one article that explains the current situation very well and I’ll attach that to the bottom of this post. 

In 2021, $21 million in post-pandemic relief funds went to schools in Arizona to be used to hire counselors and social workers. This was huge for schools, and it helped the growing amount of schools lacking mental health workers. The student-to-counselor ratio went from 905:1 to 651:1. This still isn’t close to the recommended 250:1, but it was the first sign of progress. 

The federally funded relief program was set to expire in 2024 and schools hoped for a more permanent version of these funds. Instead, when deciding where School Safety funds should go, the Arizona government allocated $50 million to requests for school police. This meant that their funds had to go to school police requests before they could be considered for counselors and social workers.

When counselors and social workers are replaced by campus police, police end up needing to fill roles that they were never trained for. The shortage of counselors in schools comes back and schools are forced to share people and resources. This means less access to school counselors, more virtual sessions, and an inability to meet the emotional needs of students. The new lack of funds for counseling take away the professionals that have the ability to prevent situations that police are being hired for.

I hope that enough research and projects like mine open the eyes of the people creating our state’s state’s legislature so that we can continue improving and funding the resources that students need to better their mental health.

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    Hi Libby, I loved hearing your updates and also getting some bigger picture information about the goal of your project. I agree that funding police in schools over counselors has the potential to create some major issues. Have you found any data to show the impact counselors have in schools in Arizona? Are there any districts using funding to prioritize placing counselors in schools?
    Payton Miller
    It is great that you are looking into more about the background and importance of this project, in addition to the research for the project itself! It definitely allows people to connect more to your project.
    Hi Ms. Bennett! Thanks for your comment! The research I'm doing for my literary review has led me to studies that show school counseling is not only important for the mental health of students, but also their academic performance, how often they show up to school, and other impacts like that. It's been very interesting to look at the different ways counseling helps. I haven't looked at the different districts'methods of funding yet, but I have been able to look at it within the school I'm volunteering at. That school seems to do it very well which has been a good perspective to have.
    Its wonderful that your spreading awareness on this topic as it helps allow our community grow and get better! Thanks!
    This is very interesting.
    This is very interesting.
    This is a really interesting project! Is there a specific age group that you will be focusing on the mental health of?

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