The role of the school counsellor as a frontline mental health professional: views, experiences, approaches, outcomes, and challenges
Olafson, Jón J.
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School counsellors are individuals with specialized training in social-emotional support for children and adolescents. In fact, school counsellors are the front-line school personnel who recognize and respond to various student mental health concerns. Despite the important role of school counsellors, there is little research that explores the experiences and perceptions of school counsellors who support students with mental health concerns. Using a phenomenological qualitative approach, this study is based on a set of interviews conducted with four school counsellors who work with students ranging from kindergarten to grade 12. School counsellors were interviewed individually and asked about their views, experiences, approaches, outcomes, and challenges in relation to supporting students with mental health concerns. Data analysis explored the lived experience and essential themes of school counsellors working as mental health professionals.