(NYASP Children’s Mental Health PSA / nyasp.org)

The New York Association of School Psychologists (NYASP) got a boost of support in the recognition of children’s mental health from NBA player Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. In the NYASP’s newest public service announcement, Hollis-Jefferson, of the Brooklyn Nets, urged students to utilize their school psychologist.

In the PSA, Hollis-Jefferson stated “overcoming difficult times teaches us how to be resilient, but we can’t be afraid to reach out for help.”

Hollis-Jefferson’s statement wasn’t just show of support of children’s mental health and the NYASP, but a boost to school psychologists in public and private schools everywhere across the United States. In a time when school districts face budget cuts, the school psychologist is one service that should always remain.

 The demand for school psychologists is high

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, school psychologists are employed predominately in public schools roughly 84 percent. Demand for school psychologists is high. It’s predicted that 16,400 new school psychologist jobs will be added between 2012 and 2022

School psychologists are critically needed to address the mental health issues that children experience. In the CDC’s latest report on children’s mental health, 2.1 percent of children aged 3 -17, had depression, while another 3 percent had anxiety. In a recent research report released jointly by the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) and the New York Association of School Psychologists, students experience greater anxiety over state tests than for local assessment.

 How students can benefit from a school psychologist

School psychologists positioned in public and private schools are trained to assess a student’s emotional and behavioral needs, handle classroom behavior, and provide culturally responsive services to students and families from diverse backgrounds.

Children and teens also can benefit from a school psychologist the following ways:

● Get assistance in having their academic progress checked
● Receive help in improving their communication and social skills
● Get help on coping skills and resistance
● Receive individual or group counseling
● Learn problem solving, anger management and conflict resolution
● Have their learning needs assessed
● Get referrals made and help in coordinating community services provided in schools
● Receive help in arrangements during transitions between school and community learning environments, such as residential treatment or juvenile justice programs

Reach out

Students who struggle with mental health issues but don’t get a proper diagnosis and treatment risk having problems at home, in school, and in forming relationships with peers.

A step in the right direction comes when one makes the decision to acknowledge one’s need for help, reach out for support, not be afraid of being transparent, and seek feedback from adults.

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