'We have a value and a purpose': School counselors celebrate National School Counselor Week

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DECLO, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - School counselors may be known for just helping out students with their class schedules. However, their jobs are much more complex.

This week is National School Counselor Week and counselor Patricia Merrill, with Declo Junior High, said this week gives them a chance to celebrate some of the work they do.

"My goal is to make sure these kids are academically successful and part of that is making sure that they’re emotionally and mentally healthy," Merrill said. "So, part of that is just meeting with them and touching base with them and getting to know them."

She says some students could be dealing with issues at home and could be acting out at school. That's where a counselor can come in and help.

"So, I can pull them out and give them a safe space to express themselves or just sit quietly. The teachers can do what they're supposed to do, teach. We have value and we have purpose. We're part of that team," she said.

Merrill said they see a lot of students come in with suicidal ideations as well.

"You have to be aware of the trends," she said. "We have to be aware of the kids who are thinking of suicide and how do we handle that? Because, after the home life, so many hours of the day, we have to give them the resources of the day to find the answers that they need."

Building trust with these students and getting the students comfortable enough to talk to the counselors helps the kids as well.

"If they’re not mentally healthy or having a rough day or having challenges or issues, it’s really going to be hard to focus on math and history," she said. "My goal is make sure they’re mentally healthy, emotionally healthy and do the best in the classroom."

Merrill said all the counselors across the district have different strengths, so working together helps them better help the kids.

"I work with some peers here in the school district and we meet together to see how we can help each other because we’re always available to help each other," she said. "It’s not just about our school, it’s about our kids."

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