As students across Canada return to in-person schooling during another school year impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, February 7 – 11, marked the 8th annual Canadian School Counselling Week in which we recognize the school counselling profession in provinces and territories.
The goal of Canadian School Counselling Week is to increase the public’s awareness of the programs and services that characterize the school counselling profession in Canada. This year’s theme, “Who We Are and How We Help”, highlighted the essential role of the school counsellor.
The school counselling profession continues to be a vital component for student success during a global pandemic. According to a survey conducted by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (2020), the biggest challenges that youth are facing during the pandemic are feeling isolated and lonely (48%); closures of in-person schools and moving to remote learning (33%); limited access to mental health and other health-related supports (9%); fears of acquiring COVID-19 for oneself or loved ones (2%); lack of employment opportunities (1%); and other challenges (6%). Whether school counsellors are supporting students on-site in schools or remotely through tele-counselling, they continue to be instrumental in supporting student well-being and achievement.
“The scope of practice has always been extensive for school counsellors in Canada through a Comprehensive School Counselling Program and Practice,” said Dr. Janice Graham-Migel, President of the CCPA School Counsellors Chapter. “School counsellors provide support for the personal, social, educational, and career development of students through programming and counselling services and are instrumental in supporting the well-being and achievement of students at all grade levels.”
School counsellors are members of the school leadership team who support the academic, social, and emotional growth of students; intervene when additional supports are required for students’ mental health and well-being; and advocate for students to help them reach their goals in a safe and inclusive school environment.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, school counsellors have provided students with the support, consistency and predictability that are essential to help them navigate these times of stress and uncertainty,” said CCPA President Dr. Kathy Offet-Gartner. “We want to highlight the role that this profession plays in overall student success.”
Canadian School Counselling Week is a collaborative initiative by CCPA, School Counsellors Chapter, regional school counselling associations, and Ministries/Departments of Education in each province and territory. To join the conversation on Twitter, follow @CCPA_ACCP and use #schoolcounsellorshelp.
For more information including resources and shareable content, please visit the CCPA School Counsellors Chapter website at: www.ccpa-accp.ca/school-counsellors-chapter.