Importance of social workers

Our Position: LT has a responsibility to hire more social workers for its students and staff.

Staff Editorial

LT is one of the many schools to increase student support systems this past summer, as new counselors and social workers were hired for the student body. 

The National Center of Education Statistics has shown that 70% of public schools have reported an increase of students seeking mental health resources at school within the past year. Staff concern over student depression, anxiety, and overall well-being has also increased by 76%.

LT must continue to hire additional social workers in its effort to improve student and staff mental health. Currently, there are a total of six social workers (one for each grade level, in addition to one overlooking the upperclassmen and one overlooking the underclassmen). With having approximately 4,000 students, each grade level specific social worker looks out for roughly 700 students. As the community begins to return to normalcy after the pandemic, it is vital to recognize the lasting impact it has left behind on students. According to the World Health Organization, the pandemic has led to a 25% increase in anxiety and depression worldwide. With this knowledge, it is up to LT to adjust to fit the needs of the student body. During the transition back to a post-pandemic world, students and staff may need more help. There should be individuals they can go to without feeling like they are taking up too much time or that their issues aren’t “severe” enough.

While some believe that six social workers is enough due to the four school counselors per grade level, that idea only goes to reinforce the common misunderstanding of what a social worker is versus a school counselor. A school counselor is a mentor who helps prepare a student to reach their full potential upon graduation. While they help with social emotional well-being, it mostly pertains to temporary problems. Alternatively, social workers help students handle long-term, in-depth issues. More social workers are necessary because an increasing number of students are facing mental health challenges that are impacting their day to day life and have the potential to become dangerous.

LT must continue to hire more social workers for its students and staff. While the current social workers are well-trained experts in supporting the community, due to the sheer size of the school, it is difficult for individuals to build the meaningful connections that they need. Students often feel as if their problems are not “big” enough, and that they will be taking time away from those who need it, which causes their mental health to suffer. With more social workers at LT, students and staff will feel the increase of support. They are then more likely to reach out for help when necessary because needing help has become normalized.