Group seeking better counselling services for QC high school

  • May. 16, 2012 7:00 a.m.

A group of islanders from the south end is advocating for better counselling services in the QC high school. In a letter sent May 11 to Superintendent Angus Wilson, the group of a dozen concerned citizens says the need for such services is immense. “.We think it necessary for School District 50 to tackle ’emotional literacy’ through providing full time in-school counselling services at QCSS.” The group, which includes Lois Burkell, Alison Waldie, Sandra Morgan, mental health clinician Ruth Stelljes and nine others, says counselling services could improve the district completion rate and attendance rates, as well as decrease the need for crisis intervention. They say it would also address several crucial issues, including teen anxiety, grief, depression and suicide and drug use, among others. “A lack of social programs and recreational activities geared to youth living at the south end of the islands, a lack of social workers, a lack of counsellors and long waiting lists for the services that do exist are some of the facts that compound the pressures on children challenged with ’emotional literacy’. It would prove beneficial to move from a model of crisis management to a proactive model where healing and skill building could prevent crises,” the letter says. It also notes that there’s a lot of funding available for pre-school programs, but the teens need more. “We implore you now to become that role model again and address the dangerous lack of services geared to our youth. We ask that you focus on supporting teens in school, through the hiring of a full-time professional student counsellor, utilizing CORE funds that have in the past been going to children of pre-school age”. The group plans to talk to several trustees as well as Mr. Wilson before the school district budget process is too far advanced to be changed. The school district will read its budget for the coming school year for the first time on Tuesday. It has to be adopted by June 30.