An illustration depicts a young female high school student standing at the threshold of a half-open medieval dungeon cell door. She gazes into a corridor that stretches into a bright light. The corridor floor is creatively transformed into a colorful day planner, full of playful notations, emoji-style doodles, and vibrant shades, symbolizing organization and time management. The walls blend the stone of a dungeon with a school-like setting, adorned with cheerful posters and doodles, merging academic and fantastical themes. Above the door, an ornate clock hangs, its time pointing towards a future. The light at the end of the corridor suggests hope and the promise of a well-managed, brighter path ahead.
Forty percent of public schools nationwide reported it was very difficult or difficult to fill mental health professional roles, during the 2022-23 school year.

School counselors teach time management to counter students’ high rates of stress

Time management is an essential skill for academic success, but school counselors say it can also help counter students’ increasing struggles with depression and anxiety.

Educators report alarming rates of mental health challenges among teens post-pandemic as they juggle academics, sports, social obligations and even work.

2024 Massachusetts School Counselor of the Year Colin Moge of West Springfield High School said it’s a daily struggle for students.

“Balancing all of those things is really challenging,” said Moge, “and I think sometimes we’re so far removed from that that it can lend itself to the perspective that they should just be able to do it and it’s really hard.”

Surveys show most teens see anxiety and depression as a major problem among their peers.

Moge said he tries to be a ‘sounding board’ for students to help reinforce their time management habits and encourage reflection about the demands placed upon them.

School counselors do it all: academic, career & college counseling – social-emotional development, and lots of listening.

In Massachusetts schools, the counselor-to-student ratio is critically high, with one counselor for every 364 students. Moge said the work is unpredictable each day but important.

“It’s hard to imagine,” said Moge, “the school systems across the state, nation, running as fluidly as they can without school counselors.”

Moge has been recognized for helping develop his school’s “Terrier Closet,” a service project providing clothing, food and personal hygiene products to students in need.

He also established the “Renaissance Program” which recognizes students for good grades, attendance, and behavior.

He said school counselors will benefit from increased partnerships with community agencies, which can help train counselors in providing improved wraparound services for students and their families.

by Kathryn Carley, Commonwealth News Service

Kathryn Carley began her career in community radio, and is happy to be back, covering the New England region for Public News Service. Getting her start at KFAI in Minneapolis, Carley graduated from the University of Minnesota and then worked as a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio, focusing on energy and agriculture. Moving to Washington, D.C., she filed stories for The Pacifica Network News and The Pacifica Report. Later, Carley worked as News Host for New York Public Radio, WNYC as well as Co-Anchor for Newsweek’s long running radio program, Newsweek on Air. Carley also served as News Anchor for New York Times Radio. She now lives near Boston, MA.

Languages Spoken: English

Topic Expertise: education, environment, nuclear energy

Local Expertise: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, New York City, Wisconsin, Minnesota

Demographic Expertise: public schools, families, children, nutrition

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