Advocates for school counseling testifying to the Oregon legislature

Oregon State University has the second oldest counseling program in the United States, following only Harvard. In 2017, it’s 100th Anniversary, both faculty and students testified in front of the Oregon legislature.

Oregon State counseling doctoral candidate Emily Sallee testified at a Oregon legislature hearing.

The President Elect of the Oregon School Counselor Association and eight year school counseling professional in Oregon City, Sallee described the need for support of school counseling.

“Across the K-12 board, there is a steady increase of student issues related to personal/social/emotional/behavioral/mental health. Most often, school counselors are the only trained mental health providers in schools. Let me say that one more time. School counselors are the only trained mental health providers in schools. These issues are often the source of students not attending school on a regular basis, not experiencing academic success, not graduating from high school, not prepared to enter the world of work.”

Gene Eakin, coordinator and professor in the Master of Counseling in School Counseling program at OSU commented on the needs of smaller districts.

“School counselors in smaller school districts are much less likely to have any central office administrator in their district with school counseling background that can provide a coordinated response to addressing this increased need for mental health services.  School counselors in these districts are also less likely to have mental health services available in their respective communities to which they can refer their students and families.”

The need is significant. Eakin states,

“Does Oregon have the resources to address the mental health needs of our children and adolescents?  It is quite clear that we do not.  Mental Health America recently released its annual State of Mental Health Report that ranked the 50 states and the District of Columbia.  Oregon ranked 49th on the list in provision of mental health services to our citizens.”