It is a fact that violence, mass shootings, depression and suicides are on the rise in our schools. Metal detectors, security guards, profiling of potentially violent students and anti-bullying programs are being considered as answers to these issues. But the prevalence of mental health disorders suggests a better way to combat these statistics is by providing access to therapeutic support through placing therapists in schools.
Nearly 50 percent of adolescents struggle with a mental, behavioral, or emotional issue. Studies show that half of people who will develop mental health issues begin to show symptoms by age 14. Other studies estimate that as many as 20 percent of all children struggle with their mental health. A person’s brain is not fully developed until early adulthood, making early intervention the key to strengthening children’s well-being.
Providing therapy within the school setting makes it much more feasible for these students to receive the support they need. Less travel is required, since the therapist is available within the building; students do not have to leave, and parents can remain at work. Additionally, a therapist’s immediate availability in the face of a difficult incident helps to diffuse emotions, lessen distractions, and create a peaceful environment for the student internally as well as within the classroom.
The ability of the therapist to work collaboratively with each student’s teachers is a benefit as well. The more information the therapist receives from daily behavior observations, the higher quality care he or she can give to the student.
With school violence and suicide rates on the rise in our state and across the nation, access to emotional support is more crucial now than ever before. While it is the school’s job to focus on academics, therapists within the school offer the emotional and mental support that students need to deal with internal struggles, thus allowing students to effectively learn.