BOE Chair encourages counselors to be vigilant about students’ mental health

TO recognize their hard work in creating a better academic life for students, the Board of Education and the Public School System signed a proclamation designating Feb. 5 to 9, 2018 as Counselors Week.

BOE chair MaryLou Ada said one of the key jobs counselors have is that of mentoring students in all aspects of their lives.

She said some students have difficulties not only at school, but also in their private lives. As a result, sometimes they cannot concentrate on school work, and are frequently absent.

“The counselors can bring them back on track and find out what is at the root of the problem by offering help so they can continue to go to school, improve their grades and eventually graduate,” said Ada.

“Counselors mentor the students, help and counsel them in applying to schools and guide them in connectionwith career choices. They are there to help them in any matter,” she added.

During the signing of proclamation on Friday at Hopwood Middle School, Ada encouraged school counselors to pay attention to students that have special needs with regard to solving problems.

“Try to catch them and resolve the problem early on before it is too late. Be vigilant in your mentoring and try to steer them in right direction,” said Ada.

With the increasing number of mental issues in the CNMI, Ada said, it is not something that the counselors should take lightly.

“If you see a student that shows signs of going over the deep end, try to work it out and get them on the right path before we refer them to the mental health division to get further help and medication to get them on track,” she said.

“A lot of students are suffering from anxiety and depression caused by all that is bothering them. We should try to help them, be advocates, and get additional help – professional help – aside from what we offer them at school,” she added.

As the counselors are taking care of student well-being, Ada said it is the job of BOE and PSS to look after them.

“Counselors have downtime moments too, but we are taking care of them by providing them with all the resources and all the programs that they need to develop themselves professionally and advance their cause of being good mentors for their students,” she said.

Associate Commissioner for Student and Support Services Yvonne Pangelinan said most PSS schools are staffed with school counselors.

“There are only three schools right now that don’t have school counselors, and we are looking at filling those vacancies within the next two weeks,” she said.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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