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EARLY YEARS: National School Counseling Week

School counselors are always available for everything from emotional support to college planning
From kindness challenges, to making positive message chains, students are encouraged to thank their school counselors
Published: Feb. 9, 2022 at 5:41 AM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Extra school counseling is offered whenever there is a tragedy, such as last weekend’s deadly shooting of Patrick Henry High School football player Isiah Robinson.

From advising students about mental health, to helping them with college planning, we owe counselors a lot of gratitude.

That’s what National School Counseling Week is all about.

“We have sent them all a certificate of appreciation, because we know that the last couple of years have certainly been challenging. And our school counselors have been on the forefront of assisting all of our students, parents and families,” says Shawn Hughes, Director of School Counseling for Roanoke County Public Schools.

There are 43 counselors who serve in Roanoke County Public Schools.

Hughes says she hopes counselors will use this special week to promote their programs.

Many schools have decided to do kindness challenges.

“For our elementaries, some of our schools are doing kindness bingo. They’re also doing kindness chains, where students write down something kind about another person and then they attach all the chains together,” says Hughes.

As far as what school counselors handle on a daily basis, Hughes says students come to them with anxiety, depression and stress.

WDBJ7 asked, how do you know if a student is in need of help beyond the expertise of a school counselor?

“I think if a student has been experiencing signs of anxiety or depression that has gone on for several weeks, they certainly should reach out to a school counselor within the building. If those concerns continue, the school counselor can certainly help with resources for families and certainly for them,” Hughes says.

The work counselors do can also be a big strain on them.

Hughes stresses the importance of self-care.

“We really encourage them to take care of themselves, especially during their down time, and when they’re off for the weekends and the evenings, and we also do a level of professional development with out counselors to encourage them to make sure they maintain their self-care,” says Hughes.

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