One of the challenging realities in schools are the many emotional issues that students experience. There are so many predictable stressors for our students. They are dealing with academic pressures, bullying, drug use, relational struggles, family struggles, learning problems and the need for consistent emotional support. Added to these issues is the impact of COVID-19 which has pressure-tested mental stability at many levels and left students anxious, depressed and somewhat isolated.
Schools are purposed to provide academic support and the typical school extracurricular activities. Yet the impact of personal, family and mental health issues is becoming more and more prevalent. These issues have significant consequences as to what goes on in classrooms, in hallways and in the relationships that students have with their peers and families. It forces school administrators to find strategies to help these students so they can perform in school without causing chaos for the staff and fellow students
Lakeside has unique perspectives and expertise on some of the behaviors that students are displaying in their school district. Since Lakeside operates four different schools for students who have a myriad of struggles, our staff is uniquely qualified to understand and provide support, strategies and counseling to students who are experiencing difficulty staying in school.
Several years ago, Lakeside began a program that provides counseling services to some of the school districts that are in our geographic region. This program, Lakeside’s In-School Counselor Program, provides counseling for students by our licensed counseling staff within many of our regional school districts. Currently we provide counseling to 45 different school districts in seven counties within Pennsylvania. Our In-School Counseling staff totals about 60 professionals and it appears that the demand is growing.
We provide counseling for many different issues and strategies to help students regulate. We also assist school district staff with strategies as to how to best meet the needs of their students. Often our In-School Counselors are used in the discipline systems and the emotional support programs within any given school to support students who are having academic problems. Our teachers are extremely overloaded, so we are able to give them relief through this program. As would be expected we also provide normal counseling services for mental health and related concerns that can surface for students to their school staff.
There are so many ways counselors can be utilized within our schools. We now provide counseling to over 3,000 students in our region. I believe that the need for this program will grow immensely as we reopen school after a long COVID-19 isolation period. We feel very privileged to serve such a vital role in our community whether live or virtually. We hope this opportunity will continue and grow as we work diligently to provide hope and help to thousands of students by providing specialized counseling with their schools.
For more information about our Lakeside In-School Counselors Program, please go to our website at www.lakesidelink.com.