LANSING, Mich., Feb. 3, 2021 — State Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield) introduced House Bill 4156 this week to require schools in Michigan to employ one school guidance counselor for every 450 students enrolled. This legislation would apply to school districts, intermediate school districts and public school academies.
“Our students’ mental health must be made a higher priority,” said Brabec. “As a clinical psychologist, I recognize the importance of meeting the mental health needs of students in Michigan. Students need resources available to them that can help lower the rates of depression, anxiety and suicide in our younger students and teens. Having more school counselors available is a great first step a school can take.”
School counselors are charged with providing critical guidance and support on post-secondary education and preparation, including skilled trades, but they also work with students to address struggles with mental illness, stress and bullying. These are all factors that greatly impact the success of students in school.
Michigan lags behind in recommended student-counselor ratios and is well below the national average. According to data released by the American School Counselor Association, Michigan had the second-worst student-counselor ratio in the country for the 2018-2019 school year, with one counselor being responsive to 691 students.