Arizona: An Unclear Future For Mental Health Resources In School Districts

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There are not enough mental health specialists in the state of Arizona. In fact, the student-to-counselor ratio in this state is the lowest in the nation. The problem is being dealt with in part by more money from the government, but this money may run out soon.

There have been more than 140 school counselors and social workers recruited in Arizona since April of 2021, thanks to emergency assistance funds totaling $21 million. AZ Center For Investigative Reporting’s Maria Polletta stated, “We’ve heard they’ve done not just one-on-one counseling like you might think of with a traditional counselor,” “But also support groups for students, meetings with parents, trainings for teachers.”

Marisol Garcia, a member of the Arizona Education Association, hopes that the state will provide more long-term support for mental health programs rather than relying on grants or relief funds.

An extra $50 million might be included in the most recent state budget. Legislators, on the other hand, have said that the Department of Education should spend money on campus police officers first before hiring counselors or social workers.