In this week’s podcast, Carl Cohn and his guests address one of the most challenging — and hidden — aspects of the pandemic: the mental health needs of students, and their teachers. Carl speaks with Dr. Jeannine Topalian, president of the California Association of School Psychologists, and Dr. Loretta Whitson, executive director of the California Association of School Counselors. Between them, their organizations represent over 17,000 professionals dedicated to the mental wellbeing of the state’s students.
In California the ratio of students to counselors is 622 to 1, below the national average of 464 to 1 and far shy of the National Association of School Counselors recommendation of 250 to 1. Carl and the two leaders discuss this lack of mental health resources in our schools, and the additional challenges posed by the pandemic. Delivering services to students is no easy feat in a remote learning environment, but Dr. Topalian and Dr. Whitson explain how their members hope to get it done.
With fifty years of service as a counselor, teacher, district superintendent, State Board of Education member, and executive director of the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence, Cohn brings a deep understanding of the challenges school districts face as they regroup and reopen in the fall.
Looking for resources for addressing the mental health needs of students? Check out the following websites:
- California Association of School Psychologists Covid-19 resources
- California Association of School Counselors Covid-19 counseling resources
- California Department of Health Care Services: Services for Children and Youth