Finding Support

Exploring student’s unwillingness to visit counselor’s and other available support

Kaydia McFall, Staff Member

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Last year, someone told me that junior year was the hardest. Of course, I did not listen. In the beginning, I thought I was doing well. Nothing was hard. I said, “I have a pretty good handle on this high school thing.” As time went on, I was starting to see that maybe junior year was difficult. Life got hard. Really hard. Not only personally, but I found stress at every corner. At home, school, work, I could not seem to escape stress. At one point I went to see my counselor. That one visit seemed to turn into going in at least twice a week. It helped in ways I was not expecting it to help. They helped guide me to a better place mentally and emotionally. 

But this year, I started to notice that while I had no trouble seeking guidance from my counselor, my peers really don’t visit their own counselors that often. I hear others talk about needing someone to talk to but then they don’t act on that. That led me to wonder why. Why don’t more students take advantage of the system in place to help them? 

So I started to ask around. 

There are a lot of things I noticed. For one, there is fear that goes into it. It’s a part of our society to be afraid to share our feelings. Teenagers are constantly worried about what others think, particularly when it comes to our true selves. 

“There has been so much shame sort of spread through society about asking for help,” counselor Elaine Bush said.

There is also this misunderstanding of what exactly a counselor is or does. I hear the same thing very often. That they never go see a counselor unless they need a schedule change and even then, they are unsatisfied in the end. I want to add that yes, they do handle schedules but, no, that’s not ALL they do. The definition of a counselor is a person trained to give guidance on personal, social, or psychological problems. I think personally the task of schedules given to a counselor is tragic. It can make one bad experience make someone not like counselors.

Regardless of what it seems they do, a counselor is here to help you, and as Mrs. Bush said, “Advocate for the student.” And that advocacy is what is needed for teenagers. Let’s get real for a second, teenagers (including myself) are not responsible thinkers. The part of our brain that tells us “hey, that’s not a very good idea” is not quite developed yet. To have my counselor tell me “hey that is not a good idea, here’s a better solution,” has prevented me from making some pretty irresponsible actions.

To be able to vent and talk about what’s hurting is an easy and reliable way to get our feelings out there. Finding people that are willing to listen and just listen is helpful. No one wants to rant to there friend only to have them say “Oh yeah I had that once, it’s not a big deal.” That just makes things worse. As people, all of our problems are significant and no one should have to feel it is a competition. With a counselor, it’s just you and them, and they are here for you. 

If counselors are still not your cup of tea, I want to tell you about a program you may not know about, but in my opinion, can help many in need. It’s called Character Crew.

“Character Crew is based on the concept of either walk then talk or got your back. In other words, needing somebody to hear you that does not share with anybody else becomes really important,” said Stacy Embry, the founder of Character Crew and a mentor of mine.

Embry started this with the intention of having support for people that need it while at the same time creating an environment that people can trust. So if you have had a bad experience with getting help, Character Crew is there to provide someone for you to talk to that you can trust. Character Crew meets on Friday mornings before the bell and everybody is welcomed. Even if you just need to talk one time all the way in May, come down and you’ll find someone who will listen. 

 “My Character Crew kids learn when to listen and when to get the kid to an adult. A lot of time you don’t have something you need to fix you just need to be heard,” Embry said.

Everyone deserves to be heard. Everyone has a story, and some things are harder to talk about. If you haven’t spoken with a counselor but need to get something out, try it. Only good things can happen. 

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