In Miami-Dade County the ratio of students to counselors as of 2019 was 462 to 1. Meanwhile, the American Counseling Association recommends a student to counselor ratio of 250 to 1. Although the county has made strides towards mental health awareness with the development of the Department of Mental Health Services, we have not yet reached the necessary points to properly serve our students. Despite hiring increases, our schools need more counselors in order to ensure the care of our students and proper attention. Our counselors serve immensely important roles in the development of our students, providing much needed guidance and information to lead students on the path to success. Under the current level of work delegated to counselors, it is immensely difficult to provide every student with attention they deserve. We must, therefore, decrease our current student-counselor ratio, to the point where our county at least meets the guidelines established by the American Counseling Association.
As a district, we must lead on mental health awareness, and that includes ensuring that we are properly staffed to provide support to our students. Another area of concern is the lack of dedicated mental health professionals in school. While the district has hired more professionals to service our students, the current level and rate is not enough. Our students necessitate access to resources that allow them to grapple with their social and emotional circumstances, and our district fails our responsibility to them when they are not provided with such resources. At the district level, there must be an increase in the number of employed mental health professionals; furthermore, they must be made clearly accessible to students so that they are aware of this resource. Through increasing the number of counselors and mental health professionals, ensuring each student’s individualized attention, we can create a school system that prioritizes the mental health and well-being of our students.