School guidance counselor: 'It's tougher to be a young person'

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- It seems like it happens more and more these days: something terrible hits the headlines and counselors are mobilized to help school children cope.

Andy Grimm is the coordinator for counseling services for the Wausau School District in Wisconsin. He said during a child's school career, 60-70 percent seek counseling services.

"When we're looking at crisis, we want to make sure the student is safe -- physical safety, psychological safety and emotional safety,” he explained.

He is head of the district's 29 counselors. In the worst of times, they get sent to whichever school needs them the most. In everyday life, he said kids are still kids, but it might be a little tougher to be a young person these days.

"We see more need for social, emotional and behavioral help for students needing extra support to be successful in a traditional classroom,” Grimm shared.

One student who's sought help said Facebook, Twitter and other social media site are to blame.

“Social media is like the devil because kids are more like... they're not scared to say stuff over social media," he said.

Senior Tessa Bartelt turned to her counselors in middle school when she fell victim to bullying.

"When I'd go to the counselor, they would go talk to those kids. It may not have stopped, but those kids would know I had told them,” Bartelt explained.

Referrals to counselors can also come from teachers, other school staff members and parents. And the Wausau School District has them at every level.

In elementary school, they focus a lot on personal and social behavior. In high school, it's more traditional, like a guidance counselor helping kids choose courses for their direction in life. And middle, where counselors work more with individuals and groups on friendship and gossip issues, or issues that are even more dangerous.

"We start to see the early level of mental health and we'll start seeing kids with anxiety, depression and possible suicidal thoughts,” Grimm said.

From that scary stuff to helping choose a class best suited for your future, Tessa said use them. That's what counselors are for.

Read the original version of this article at wsaw.com.