Counseling, Psychological and Social Services
In addition to a student’s physical well being, his or her mental health can be effectively addressed through a coordinated approach to school health. Today, many students have the added stress of coping with emotional challenges stemming from problems such as parental divorce, alcoholism, abuse, and drug addiction. The primary objective of over 1100 elementary, middle, and high school counselors in Mississippi is to promote and enhance student achievement. These counselors are qualified to meet the mental needs of students in the school setting as well as academic and career needs. Due to the large numbers of students, school counselors use “brief counseling” techniques in the school setting and refer students to clinical settings for long-term counseling needs. The Mississippi Department of Education’s Division of Counseling and Professional Services assists school counselors in fulfilling duties/responsibilities outlined in the Mississippi School Counselor Curriculum Framework and Mississippi Code §37-9-79. The MDE provides academic and vocational updates, maintains contact with local districts regarding future needs, coordinates/trains school counselor response teams throughout the state, collaborates with state organizations/agencies for efficient delivery of services, and provides professional development as requested regarding counseling/career issues as well as skill-building techniques.
Counseling is a process of helping people by assisting them in making decisions and changing behavior. School counselors work with all students, school staff, families, and members of the community as an integral part of the education program. School counseling programs promote school success for students through a focus on academic achievement, prevention and intervention activities, advocacy, social/emotional issues, and career development. All areas lead to the development of the “whole person,” so all students may be successful members of society upon exiting the school environment.