The Need for Mental Health Counselors in Adventist Schools

(Charles Castle) #21

Those of you who have served on the board for an Adventist school will probably be the first to understand that almost all Adventist schools are operated on a “starvation budget!” We spend 80%+ of budgets on salaries with almost nothing for the operation of the school. I would not be surprise to hear that almost all administrators would be happy to have the services of a qualified professional in this area, if there was a way to pay for it without raising tuition even more

I was privileged to live close to Elmer and can remember contacting him for assistance, with a student and appreciating the help provided. We also had to try to find funding to help provide these services.

(Tim Page) #22

As a teacher I can tell you that there are times that a student needs imeadiate counselling and may not want or be comfortable with telling their parents. While we always want to work in partnership with the parents their are times when the mental health of a child is more important so that it is necessary to proceed initially without full parent cooperation. How do you use insurance money when the student doesn’t want to tell their parents or the parents refuse to listen to the concerns of the teachers or the child. I am fortunate that I work in an SDA school that can provide support to student from a qualified Adventist councillor and I also work in a country that provides access to free healthcare to students who need it.

(Bruce Clements) #23

At any point during my 12 years of SDA Education I would have loved the chance to talk with a trained professional—or any caring person, for that matter—who could’ve assured me that it wasn’t a crime to question the way I was being brought up.
Or perhaps that person might even have somehow hinted that expecting to see Jesus was a waste of time so I needn’t live in constant dread of a 2nd Coming which probably wasn’t going to happen (at least not on the SDA/EGW schedule, i.e., “soon”?!?!) and for which event my teachers and preachers doggedly insisted I was perpetually unprepared.

(Yvonne Stratton) #24

As a physician, I have billed insurance for an underaged patient who is insured through the parent(s) without the parent knowing about the visit or the diagnosis. Often, the parent may get a bill. This can also be avoided by child paying co-pay and, if needed, deductible.
There are specific indications in which a child can be treated without parental consent: life-threatening immediate need, situations of an emancipated minor, issues related to pregnancy, birth control or sexually transmitted diseases and mental health or addiction issues.
Elmer, the Spectrum conversation resident psychiatrist, might have more to say. I mostly dealt with obstetrics/gynecology issues

(Cfowler) #25

Questioning the system brings about all sorts of problems…

Solution? Tell those who are questioning that they are on the highway to hell. (Cue AC/DC). That’s the answer to the questions. :sunglasses:

(reliquum) #26

Methinks these need to be in the pastors office, and home.

After all, think of all those those poor PK’s…too good for the world, too bad for the church, strung out interminably in our distinctive purgatory.

Serious effort needs be expended to highlight our faith communities peculiar need for a healthy approach to things pertaining to psychological and emotional health. There are few things more wretched than a person under refractory religious persecutory delusion (or grandeur).


This is true for our area too. Full counseling available and referrals to psychiatrists as well.

(Bruce Clements) #28

As problematic as it seemed for them to answer —and even though it took until the age of 25 to formulate the question correctly—it finally came down to this: if your god is all-powerful, then why does he need you to tell me that? Doesn’t that mean he must have the power to “cut out the mix” and speak for him, her it ItSelf?
Just as I wouldn’t trust a psychic who didn’t know my name and why I was in her parlor before I opened my mouth, I have no use for a god who cowers in his heaven—perhaps hiding out just to torment the atheists whom he’ll punish shortly—while insisting that other people do his dirty work, like changing diapers, disciplining kids, starting religions, fighting wars, etc.
Now, almost 40 years on, I’m convinced that spending an eternity with a god such as that would be a hell infinitely more torturous than the one for which the “Thunderstruck” Boys say they’re headed!

(Thomas J Zwemer) #29

We arrived iN Augusta late in August of 1966. We had two children of Church. School age. the son was the older of the two. The school was housed in an old mansion. It had a cook stove I n the basment with an oven. It also had a gas leak.

One noon the teacher sent my son down to light the oven for baked potatoes. My son protested saying there is a gas leak.The teacher said light the match in the hall and back into the room.If it blows you can see where you are going.

The teacher was later ordained as a pastor in the Carolina Conference. Yes I believe the church needed mental health professional in church schools and academies. (Look forward to stories at the academy level.)

(Elmer Cupino) #30

In Pennsylvania minors 14 years old and above may give informed consent for treatment in certain medical conditions such as inpatient psychiatric care, abortion, contraception, HIV testing among others. In 30 years of practice as child and adolescent psychiatry, only once did the court overrule my recommendations. If the teacher comes across as sincere in conveying to the parents that the minor’s best interest is what is driving the recommendations, then the parents should have no trouble being on board with treatment.

Check with you state’s regulation. Vt and Ca I believe allow as young as 12 years old to give informed consent for medical treatment in certain medical conditions.


(Cfowler) #31

I get what you are saying. I think that is one of, if not the biggest question people have regarding God and the suffering in this world. I think we’ve all wondered and questioned. I know I have, and still do.

If the Christian way has been chosen, we don’t need a person, group, or denomination to chart our course and dictate every jot and tittle. Not to say that there isn’t wisdom and value in what a trusted person or close friends may have to say. I’ve learned a lot from different pastors/teachers, and friends, but for the most part, to learn more about Scripture…the culture, the context, the history of the writings, and to share insights and observations.

I’m a believer, but I have times of doubt and questioning too.


(Phil van der Klift) #32

I would be really interested to know what ‘the church’ fears would happen if it were to admit that it has made mistakes, that it has gotten things wrong at times, and that it does have problems?

(reliquum) #33

you mean rhetorically, aside from an
ecchymotic pride?

(Phil van der Klift) #34

No, not rhetorically. Actually…

(Cfowler) #35

Just my opinion, but I think the church has a somewhat vaulted view of itself. They have more “knowledge” than the average Christian (in their view). There is a lot of horn tooting that goes on…we have the most schools (besides the Catholic church), we have the correct diet, we have a Prophet, we go to church on the correct day, etc. I don’t think they like their dirty laundry out for the public to see (or church members for that matter), because it knocks them down a few pegs in the eyes of others, or so they think. It’s as if they don’t believe that they are as sinful as other Christians (and a few steps above) and want to keep up the facade.

It would behoove them to admit wrongs, ask forgiveness, make any wrongs right, and stop setting themselves above others.

What do you think?

(Hayden Scott) #36

Yes, our colleges and universities offer mental health counseling, but that is not where the majority of our children are.

(Hayden Scott) #37

So sorry you didn’t get that talk you needed. But I agree, even one session with an MHP can make a world of difference in a child’s life, even if it’s just to assure them that their doubts and anxieties are natural.

(Hayden Scott) #38

As all good Adventists know, Romans 3:23 says, “All except the Seventh-day Adventist church have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and therefore they do not need to evaluate anything about themselves ever because of their method of biblical interpretation.”

Such a progressive verse for its time.

(Hayden Scott) #39

Universities offer them and having personal experience within these systems as I obtained a psychology degree from an Adventist university, I fully believe that the administration has no actual sense of what they’re for. People were sent to counseling as punishment for disobeying the rules, and even at these universities, many students keep quiet because of the stigma they might be subject to if they were vocal about taking advantage of these services.

I currently attend a state university, working on my master’s degree; there is such a different air of acceptance for mental health services and the benefits they have. Also, the quality of the counseling centers are much better, and the psychologists have much more experience and skill in the realm of giving counseling.

Many public schools do offer them, but it’s an uphill battle for it to be considered in Adventist secondary schools. As @ccastle writes,

The schools are given pennies to make dollars. I attended Valley Grande Adventist Academy in its final years, and rather than cut their losses, they proudly headed towards another million dollars in debt knowing full well they couldn’t afford to survive.

One thing we may want to consider is closing the less successful secondary schools and combining the finances and resources they would normally have and open tri-state area secondary schools. In the same way that our universities would crumble if we had 80 of them across the U.S., why not condense into a small few so that the quality of education, infrastructure, and mental health services could be impeccable?

(George Tichy) #40

It will also be very helpful having something in place to educate the parents about the benefits of counseling. Maybe a good lecture for parents at the beginning of the school year?