Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Student Mental Health and Self Care: Free Resources

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Each year our district hosts an annual teen leadership summit for middle and high school leaders.  Until recently, this conference was totally planned by an adult committee; however, the adults realized that it is a student conference and students should actually take part in the planning process!  So, the students were given an opportunity to provide feedback on which topics they felt were important at a student-led conference and one of the topics was, surprisingly, on  balancing life (particularly managing positive mental health and employing self care tactics).  Fortunately, my social worker friend and I were asked if we would present on this topic and we humbly accepted.


Work Life Balance and Self Care

Maintaining a Work Life Balance has become the war cry of the majority modern day workers and should justifiably be taken seriously by employers!!  Although we all strive to maintain that fine balance, how many of us school counselors effectively find that sweet spot? (If you need a reminder about the importance of school counselor self care, read this article from Dr. Rhonda Williams!!) What is this concept anyway?  According to the mental health and well-being page of the government of Queensland, Australia, Work-Life Balance is "adjusting your day-to-day activities to achieve a sense of balance between work life and personal life." If adults have an issue finding this balance, youth are certainly more susceptible to falling into the same trap.  

It's a Balancing Act

My friend and I divided the presentation into two sections.  First, I discussed the concept of mental health, when students should be concerned about their own mental health, and how they can assist others.  Second, my colleague gave tips on self care and she intentionally provided concrete examples that students could use once they walked out the door. 

Attached is the power point presentation that you are more than welcome to borrow or revise for your own use.  



In addition to the presentation, we shared some additional resources with the students.

Student Self Care Kit

My colleague and I created three self care kits to give away to students in the sessions.  They were simple to put together and surprisingly the students loved them...go figure!

Some items we included were:

lotion
bubble wrap
water
dark chocolate
green tea
lolly pops
stress ball
journal
colored pencils
self care cards



Self Care Cards

Here is a sample of the self care cards we gave to students.  


Additional Resources

We also gave out some mental health resources which included the Georgia Crisis text line for students experiencing a crisis. Here is the link to the resources we shared - mental health resources.  Also, my colleague brought her diffuser (she put in peppermint-lemon oil) and Himalayan Salt Lamp for the students to experience.  If you are interested in purchasing these products, check out the links below.





























Also, here are some additional worksheets you may want to include in your self care kit or use with your students experiencing an out-of-balance school-life.





Setting Goals

Now, it is your turn to share your ideas and tools.  What tips/resources/handouts do you use with your students.  Please feel free to share!!!


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

College Bound Students & the Digital Footprint: Thoughts from a High School Counselor

Wednesday, November 8, 2017


Each year, I am asked to write copious college recommendation letters for students about their character, academic status, and maturity level.  Prior to writing this post, I never really put much thought or energy about how a student's social media account plays a part in their college acceptance process or retention. However, it really matters (even the Pope agrees)!  Case in point, take the latest story that hit the news regarding college student Brianna Brochu's Instagram posts regarding the chronic torment and bullying of her roommate.  Brochu boldly posted on social media that she had masterminded a plan to get rid of her roommate by performing heinous acts to her skincare products, tooth brush, and book bag.  I was shocked she posted her indiscretions so boldly, but yet, was I surprised?  In today's society, students are often rewarded with likes and peer approval for posting crazy stuff.  Therefore, it really did not surprise me that she believed she could safely post these acts without repercussion!  Maybe if the student had been educated about posting such things as an adolescent, she may be still enrolled in her college.

In this post, I wanted to share my thoughts about how school counselors should consider educating students and parents regarding the importance of social media when considering college in their future.  According to Common Sense Media, colleges receive so many qualified applicants that they are now viewing social media accounts as a way of "tipping the scale." Educating students and parents early may prevent many students from college acceptance rejection or dismissal. Because our society is obsessed with "sharing" it is impossible to contain or prevent students from oversharing their information.  In fact, the Pew Institute researched how teens overshare information that may put them at risk for online predators, compromising their personal information, and damaging their digital reputation.

SafeStudents Online found that the online life of the majority teens will not stay online, but often spills into a student's everyday life...including schools.



Each year, our district coordinates parent nights, parent workshops, and classroom presentations regarding college preparation.  These meetings often include information about test preparation, college entrance, and academic rigor; however, seldom do we include a discussion about social media. Recently, I was made aware of a free student tool called The Smart Talk. The purpose of this tool is to assist students in protecting their online identity and personal safety. In addition,  another smart option for parents is to sign for LifeLock Junior identity theft protection to help parents keep a closer eye on their online safety (be aware there is a charge for signing up for this service and it is important that you mention that it is only a suggestion for additional security) . Some possible lessons to incorporate with this tool is about the importance of protecting student privacy online and the importance of a student's digital footprint. Not only is privacy important to protect student accounts, but it can protect students from online predators who may want to steal personal information or trick a student to meet him/her as a part of a sex trafficking plan (once a year, I teach a lesson to my student leaders in sex trafficking awareness and I am shocked at how little they know about this social topic).

I know we are extremely busy with all the things we have to get accomplished each year; however, if this is something that you feel your students and parents need to know here are some lessons you can incorporate along with introducing the Smart Talk tool to parents.

Lessons for Busy Counselors
In this activity, students learn about the impact of their digital footprint and how the information they post online can help or hurt their chances for college admissions and/or employment. Students will also learn how to make a positive impression through their online presence.

Lesson includes:

Video showing a positive digital presence.
Handout "Admissions Packet"

Activities:

Students will review two student candidates and determine which one is most suitable for college admissions.  Following the activity, the students will discuss why they choose the candidate for their institution.

Students will reflect on their own accounts and if their digital footprint is helping or harming their chances for college admission.

Start Early!!

To prove a point about their digital footprint, school counselors can ask their 9th and 10th grade students to "Google" themselves to see what information or photos are visible and suggest how they should clean up their social media accounts.  Also, it a good to encourage students to work with their families to keep them safe online and create a positive digital footprint for their future selves.  Again, one such platform parents and students can use is "Smart Talk".

What is Smart Talk?

Smart Talk is a collaboration between the National Parent Teacher Organization and LifeLock that assists parents and students in talking about online safety, social media and respect, screen time, and texting and calling.  The free application allows families to set up an agreement about computer/phone use that meets the needs of the student and parent. Although it is recommended for students who are just receiving a cellular device or social media account, Smart Talk can be a great tool for parents and students who are rebuilding trust because of social media misuse. I really wished I had know about such a tool when I handed them over a cell phone!!


Smart Talk Covers the Following Topics
Safety & Privacy, Screen Time, Social Media & Respect, Apps & Downloads, & Text & Calling

Here is the online guide for getting started with the Smart Talk tool...


Additional Resources for Parents to Share

Here are some additional free resources that you can share with your parents about safety and digital citizenship.

Free Webinars hosted for parents on social media

Smart Social Podcast

Special note: Again, these are only suggestions and I highly recommend that you never endorse a product or service to families or students.  These are only some of the many services I discovered that may be helpful to parents.

Hope you find this post helpful!  

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Guest Post: Helping Teachers with Self-Care: How School Counselors Can Help!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

OnlineCounselingPrograms.com Guest Blog Post for For High School Counselors

By: Sam Frenzel

Biography: Sam Frenzel is a writer for OnlineCounselingPrograms.com where he collaborates with editor Syrenna Kononovitch, editor on creating content that supports future and current counselors in providing services to their clients, seeking education, and pursuing various mental health careers.

Helping Teachers with Self-Care: How School Counselors Can Help


How can you fill someone else’s cup if yours is half empty?

Educators and counselors are in the best position to help their students when they are properly taking care of themselves. Unfortunately; because of stress induced by workloads, meeting state and district standards,and numerous other variables, it is common to feel burned out in these professions. 

Self-care, when proactively and consistently used, can be one of the best defenses against effects of burnout for educators and counselors of all kinds. It is common practice for school counselors to be familiar with various self-care practices and they are absolutely necessary. Teachers, however, are often not as well-versed on self-care techniques. As a consultant and collaborator in the health of students and school, professional school counselors can help teachers identify signs of burnout and encourage engagement in self-care activities.

Specific Signs and Causes of Burnout


Being able to recognize burnout in colleagues is the first step to being an asset in efforts to reduce possible tension and stress in schools.

Career burnout can be seen in a variety of ways including: a decline in work performance and job satisfaction, a change in eating and sleep patterns, impairments in social and other interpersonal relationships, and an overall withdraw from the job, both physically and emotionally. To this end, burnout has the ability to completely alter one’s outlook on their career and, thus, is more important to address than most people realize.

“I see burnout when a colleague calls in sick repeatedly, especially Mondays and Fridays.” Says educator Jen Roberts of LitandTech.com “Other signs include losing patience with students, being unprepared for lessons, negative attitude, exhaustion, feeling behind, complaining about students, parents, or administrators. There are lots of signs of burnout, and all of us have shown some of those symptoms at some point.”

The stressors that lead to burnout in professional school counselors and educators are not all that different. The most commonly cited reasons for burnout in school counselors are increasing job demands, an overwhelming work environment with role confusion, and a lack of time to provide direct services to students. Similarly, educators point to “top contributors” such as intense workload, administrative issues, and student behavior.

This commonality between school counselors and educators is indicative of potential for collaboration in finding ways to relieve the stress.  In many ways, the relationship between school counselor and educator is integral to the holistic success of their students.

How to Help Your Teachers


So how can school counselors help the teachers in their school combat the effects of burnout? The opportunities run the gamut from small, thoughtful gestures to helping address more systemic issues.

Below are eight practices counselors can integrate into their professional lives to be a source of support to teachers in need, from the U.S. Department of Education’s blog - Homeroom:

  1. Help teachers to understand the student as a whole being.
  2. Offer professional advice regarding troublesome students.
  3. Assist with tackling classroom problems, before they get out of hand.
  4. Become an  empathetic listener to both student and teacher concerns.
  5. Work with teachers to implement guidance lessons into academic classes.
  6. Continually develop a collaborative professional relationship.
  7. Offer ways to mediate and resolve conflict between teachers and students..
  8. Provide professional guidance on a student’s mental health concerns.

Each of these practices play a key role in beginning to reduce teacher stress, and will help them develop and find the time for their own self-care techniques.

Using Rational Emotive - Social Behavioral Consultation Theory


Another way school counselors can leverage their expertise to help teachers is by applying theoretical frameworks to teachers who may be experiencing burnout.  School counselors, for instance, can put the rational emotive - social behavioral consultation theory (RE-SBC). School counselors utilize RE-SBC to assess the social-emotional needs of both students and teachers and implement  systemic services such as group consultation. In turn, this will create a multi-level tier of support and responsive services that will promote the overall positive mental health of teachers.

Should You Reach Out to Your Teachers?


Keep in mind that there are going to be times of the year where teachers are at a higher risk of burnout. The first few weeks back in the classroom, busy testing periods, and the end of the school year are a few specific points where it might be beneficial to reach out to staff with a show of support. A few ideas for school counselors to demonstrate solidarity and empathy are to send out a staff memo conveying your willingness to lend an ear and to hold “coffee with the counselor” sessions as an open forum for teachers and counselors to collaborate.

By being a source of support for both teachers and students, school counselors are demonstrating a commitment to their school and the welfare of its student body.





Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Make a Difference Day: Choose a Cause!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017



Recently, Eventbrite informed me of Make a Difference Day which is coming up on October 28th. On this day, individuals can volunteer to serve during "Make A Difference Day", one of the largest days of service nationwide. Since 1992, volunteers have united annually to improve the lives of others in their communities by serving nonprofit causes in the United States. "Make A Difference Day" is made possible by TEGNA with support from Arby’s Foundation and Points of Light. Since I am a huge proponent of peer helping, mental health prevention, conflict resolution, and violence prevention, I was thrilled to share these organizational causes with Eventbrite. They like to encourage their followers to get involved in organizations like these and offer multiple tools to make the fundraising process a little simpler!





My Favorite Causes 


Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation


For the last five years, I have made the six hour drive to the Gulf of Mexico to attend a wonderful conference about the benefits of peer helping sponsored by the Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation.  I truly believe in the power of  peer helping and so does the founder of the Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation, Frances Holk-Jones.  You see, Frances knows the potential of power of peers personally. After the suicide of her daughter, Jennifer, many of her daughter's friends informed her they were aware of Jennifer's state of mind, but were unsure of what to do with that information.  In the hopes of preventing other suicides in the community, Jennifer's family started a foundation to incorporate peer programs throughout all Baldwin County Schools in Southern Alabama.  I must say that I am amazed by the foundation's commitment, not only to their community, but to educate other professionals each year in their national conference. I truly support this organization and their work to spread the power of peer helping!!

Want to know about the National Peer Helping Conference?  Check out the link below to find out more!



National Council of Behavior Health and Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA)


Five years ago, my school district was awarded a grant called Project Aware . Part of the grant included selecting a handful of psychologists, social workers, and school counselors to become certified in Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA).  Fortunately, I was one of the staff members selected to take the certification course. Each year, I have had the privilege to teach up to four or five YMHFA courses per year to school, court, medical, religious, and corporate employees in the Metro Atlanta area.  The ability to train youth workers in Georgia has been very fulfilling and rewarding.  Our goal is to educate and train as many youth workers in Georgia as possible about youth mental illness. 
Georgia has still a way to go...sigh.

Youth Mental Health First Aid is "designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis" (Youth Mental Health First Aid).  Like CPR helps a person in a medical crisis, YMHFA training helps youth workers take action to get a youth in a mental crisis the help they need before the youth harms him/herself or others.



YMHFA is sponsored by the National Council for Behavioral Health which is the unifying voice of US health care organizations that deliver mental health services to over 10 million adults and children.  The National Council is a 501(c)(3) association that advocates for to comprehensive health care services for people who have mental health and substance use disorders. 

This caption sums the importance of YMHFA in the US!

National Association of Peer Program Professionals (NAPPP)


It was at the National Peer Helping Conference that I became aware of this organization.  The role of NAPPP is to help adults establish, train, supervise, maintain, and evaluate peer programs. Each year NAPPP coordinates peer helping training institutes across the world that teach adults to create, maintain, and evaluate a standard's based peer program in their organization.  In 2011, I became a certified peer educator with NAPPP and had the awesome opportunity to present at the 2014 ASCA
Conference on how to establish a standards based peer program.  Besides the opportunities for training and certification, the organization coordinates monthly webinars on important topics (bullying, suicide, and mental health to name a few), sends out a monthly newsletter that includes such goodies as student lessons, and provides consultation to those hoping to begin a program. Each year, NAPPP sponsors a National Peer Helping Week to promote and celebrate peer helping in schools.  A kit can be downloaded from the NAPPP site.

See this post regarding National Peer Helping Week.






Online Peer Mediation Platform (OPMP)


In 2014, I was asked by one of my mentors if I wanted to be a part of creating an online forum in the field of peer mediation. The project was part of a generous two year grant provided by the JAMS Foundation and was managed by the Association for Conflict Resolution.   This online platform would serve four purposes:

1.  Provide free resources for conflict resolution practitioners.
2.  Deliver basic conflict module training for students.
3.  Afford the opportunity for online peer mediation practice for students from existing peer mediation programs.
4.  Provide online peer mediation services for schools that lack a peer mediation program.


In 2016, the National Association for Peer Program Professionals was given the opportunity to manage the platform and extended available services. These additional services include: providing conflict resolution curricula, peer mediation training for schools, free monthly webinars, and free lessons in conflict resolution for students.

Check out the most recent free webinar from the Online Peer Mediation Platform called the State of Peer Mediation.  Also, register to participate in the October webinar hosted by Christa Tinari on "Bullying and Conflict: What is the Difference"? 




October 25th Free Webinar Registration


Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE)


In 2014, I discovered SAVE and their mission to prevent violence in schools.  Because I am a BIG proponent of prevention, I decided to start a chapter in my school.  What I appreciate most about SAVE is that they sponsor many youth violence prevention activities during the year, provide many free resources and share lots of great ideas to incorporate in your school.

SAVE EVENTS

October 16-24, 2017

"Say Something" teaches middle and high school students how to look for warning signs, signals and threats from a peer who might be planning to hurt themselves or someone else and to say something to a trusted adult to get help and possibly save a life.



March 19-23, 2018

National Youth Violence Awareness Week seeks to educate students, teachers, school administrators, counselors, school resource officers, school staff,  parents, and the public on effective ways to prevent or reduce violence among youth. The activities demonstrate the positive role peers can have in making their school a safer place.


NYVAW Events

Monday-Promoting Respect and Tolerance          
Tuesday-Manage Your Anger, Don’t Let it Manage You                  
Wednesday-Resolve Conflicts Peacefully                                          
Thursday-Support Safety
Friday-Unite in Action




Again, I am honored to have the opportunity to share the causes that I truly support in my profession! I hope you find this information useful and find these organizations of interest to you!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Coordinating Red Ribbon Week Events

Sunday, October 1, 2017



This is the second year in a row that I have been given the task to coordinate a district-wide Red Ribbon Week effort in our high schools and middle schools with peer leadership programs. Although it is a little (okay a lot) stressful, my motto is "go big or go home." In this post I wanted to share our Red Ribbon Week activities among our participating schools.

If you are the one in your school coordinating Red Ribbon Week and I feel these ideas are a little over the top, keep reading!  I have included the 2017 Red Ribbon Kit link, supply ideas for Red Ribbon Week, additional activities and past posts from 2013-16.

Although it may be a hassle to coordinate Red Ribbon Week with all your other duties, it is important to make Red Ribbon Week meaningful to your students.  Think about going beyond the "crazy sock day" or "twin day" and amp up your efforts.  After you finish your week, I would love to hear about your ideas for drug awareness in your school.  So, please feel free to share!!!!

2017  Red Ribbon Week Campaign






2017 Red Ribbon Kit





Red Ribbon Resources

Red Ribbon Week Posts from For High School Counselors

2013-2016













Monday, September 25, 2017

Help Your Students Stop Bullying

Monday, September 25, 2017

If you are really into social advocacy as a school counselor then October is extremely busy month for you.  I think I have shared with you that I coordinate our county peer leader/helper program and October is wild for us. Although we are conducting many social campaigns during October, I thought I would share some aspects of our bullying campaign with you.  

Training My Peer Leaders/Helpers in Bullying Awareness

First, before we start our bullying campaigns in the school, my leaders have to be educated about bullying and how to recognize it.

Second, I have my students participate in extensive exercises,  role play practices, and discussions to make sure they understand the concept and how to confront it appropriately.

Third, I give the students a choice about which campaign they would like to be involved in when it comes to educating their school community about bullying.

Below, are some of the activities my students get to choose from and they must share their results of the campaign and reflect on the activities after the campaign is over.

In addition, I decided to share my peer leader/helper power point in case you would like to use it with your students (because who doesn't love a free resource). 

Bullying Awareness Campaigns

10-2-17

Blue Shirt Day 
Start the month of October by encouraging students to wear blue to stomp out bullying. This year's theme is "Change the Culture"  and serves to educate students on the type of bullying in school, how to become an upstander, and how to talk to people about their differences in appropriate ways.


10-9-17

Encourage your student to make friends with someone they don’t know at school. This activity helps to encourage students to be leaders, reduce isolation, and encourage students to step out of their comfort zones.


10-25-17

Unity Day
Encourage students to wear orange to take a stand against bullying.  Take photos and post them to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook using #UnityDay2017. Also, get the staff involved in the campaign by asking them to wear an orange ribbons during the day.  

You can order additional shirts designed by celebrities at this link!


Some additional activities include
  • You are Not Alone Kit - toolkit that can assist you in creating schools where students feel empowered.
  • Educational videos by teens and experts - educate students on what to say to bullies and bystanders.  This page includes a quiz and additional resources.
  • Digital Petition - Have your students go to this link to sign  the petition to stand against bullying at their school. 
  • Positive Promotions - Site that sells bullying prevention materials for schools.
  • Project Connect - Create an orange unity chain and put up your cafeteria or another high visibility area.
  • Sit With Us App- Allows student leaders to connect with students who are isolated and alone.
  • Stop Bullying Now - Provide resources, training, and information for educators.
  • Create a school wide unity banner and have students to sign it. Here is one that you can order from PACERS.

Here is a link to my personal bullying file that you can explore to find additional information for your bullying awareness campaign or to use during the year.

10-31-17

Mix It Up Day

Southern Poverty Law Center has sponsored Mix It Up in schools across America.  Mix It Up is an excellent opportunity for students to learn the value of diversity, tolerance, and inclusion by meeting and talking to new people during lunch.


Sample Steps for Implementation

1. Create a planning group or go through a club or organization (SADDSAVE , Peer Helpers , etc.) -my school's SADD chapter (Students Against Destructive Decisions) will plan and carry out the event.

See the Mix It Up Checklist
2. Determine your goals-have two main goals in mind:

  • Get students to sit with someone new.
  • Get students to engage in conversation.
3.  Make it festive- include a theme, decorations, colors, music, entertainment, prizes, or a flash mob.



Want to know more about Mix It Up?  Check out my post from 2013.

Need more ideas? 
Check out this Educator Informational page from STOMP Out Bullying

From the For High School Counselors Blog

Check out my post from 2013 for additional ideas, links and resources. Also, check out my blog on the importance of helping those who are bullied. 

Hope you got some good ideas, but please feel free to share your ideas with me as well!!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

School Shootings and the School Counselor

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Recently, my husband and I decided to sell our house.  So for the last three months, I have been immersed in cleaning, staging, searching for a rental...oh, did I mention cleaning. So much of my 
time and energy has gone into selling our house, that I have not been able to write on my blog in several weeks.  By happenstance, I read about another school shooting that occurred a couple of weeks ago. What caught my eye about the story (besides the unfortunate event itself) was the mention of the school counselor knowing about the apparent threat.  Now, I don't know if the counselor knew about the potential violence and may not have reported the information; however, it really got me thinking how often these situations really occur in our schools.  So, I decided to take a break from the house nightmare and write a brief post about my thoughts regarding the role of the school counselor in instances of school violence.


Here is what was reported regarding the school shooting...

Daily News
According to the Daily News, a friend of the suspect reported that the student handed out notes to his friends in the beginning of the school year, saying he planned to do something "stupid where he gets killed or put in jail."At least one of the notes had been handed over to a school counselor, the friend said.

No school counselor wants a student to walk into his or her office and hand him or her a note which threatens others, but what if they doWhat if other students know about the potential violence and don't report it?  What if the school counselor reports the situation and the administrators or SROs don't take it seriously?  What if you call the school counselor contacts the parents and they blow him or her off?  Man, you can really go insane thinking about all the what if's.  The most important thing that we, as school counselors, can do is to be prepared in case it becomes our turn.  This very situation happened to a middle school counselor in Tennessee who used her super counseling skills to talk a student out of acting in violence.  Here is a snippet from her experience with the student.




Tennessee School Counselor Talks Student with Gun out of Shooting


Because we never know about when or where violence will occur, we need to be prepared for its potential, I cannot overstate the importance of the role of the school counselor in school crisis. According to ASCA, the school counselor has specific roles and responsibilities when preventing, intervening, and responding to school violence.  Here are some recommendations from ASCA.


  • individual and group counseling
  • advocacy for student safety
  • interventions for students at risk of dropping out or harming self or others
  • peer mediation training, conflict resolution programs and anti-bullying programs
  • support of student initiated programs such as Students Against Violence Everywhere 
  • family, faculty and staff education programs
  • facilitation of open communication between students and caring adults
  • defusing critical incidents and providing related stress debriefing
  • district and school response team planning and practices
  • partnering with community resources
If you would like to be more prepared, here are some best practices for school counselors that you may be interested in applying in your school.

Paolini has several recommendations for school counselor in mitigating school violence.

1.  Coordinating psychosocial groups on topics such as bullying, grief and loss, conflict resolution, coping skills, anger, and social skills.

2.  Breaking down codes of silence among students who may be aware of potential violence.

3.  Educating students on the importance of not participating in bystander behavior and teach upstanding skills.

4.   Consultation with staff members concerning students' social, emotional, and behavioral needs.

5.  Incorporate interventions when students display concerning behaviors.  Some examples include: providing leadership roles to struggling students, reward systems, and behavioral modification plans.

6.  Incorporate programs that strengthen the school climate and assist students with emotional concerns.

7.  Conduct mental health screenings to identify students who are at-risk for mental illness and educate families on services and resources for those students.

8.  Adopt a threat assessment to identify potential violence in the school.

9.  Encourage families to monitor their students' social media accounts for potential violence.

In Counseling Today Magazine, Bethany Bray gives additional prevention guidelines for counselors to prevent potential violence.

1.  Make connections and build rapport with students of concern.  This could include a weekly check in with students who are marginalized, bullied, or isolated.

2.  Reach out to at-risk students. At-risk students include students who are struggling in their classes, truant, and lack social skills.  Some techniques include lunch bunch groups, coordinating a peer mediation program for students to learn to solve their own issues, and incorporating a peer helping program. 

3. Foster a safe environment by finding out from students the real issues that are often overlooked by school staff through a student needs assessment.

4.  Continue to participate in trainings in school crisis and identifying at-risk students.

5.  Become active in your district's crisis planning.


Need additional resources?  Here is a list...


ASCA Crisis book
ASCA Crisis Resources for School Counselors 
Lessons Learned from Columbine
Trauma Resources from SAMSHA
Trauma and Mental Health Resources from National Association of School Psychologists
Disaster and Trauma Responses in Children from ACA
Talking to Your Students Following a School Shooting
The Role of the School Counselor in Crisis Planning and Intervention
Psychological First Aid

Want to know more about school shooters?  Read my article from attending a session at the 2014  ASCA conference.




In Cold Blood: The Rampage Shooter