Horry County Schools providing more mental health counselors this school year

HCS Mental Health Counselors

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Amid a growing concern for students’ mental health, Horry County Schools is providing more mental health resources.

The district is adding more mental health counselors this upcoming school year.

When it comes to students, there are the obvious struggles with classes, homework and school activities. But beneath the surface, some deal with much deeper issues.

“There’s a lot of perfectionism. Some kids are super hard on themselves, they feel like if they get a 95 that’s not good enough, so I see a lot of that and that, of course, could spiral into some depression sometimes socially isolating themselves,” said Sandy Quast, a licensed professional counselor at Coastal Haven Counseling.

Quast is a former mental health counselor at North Myrtle Beach Middle School. She said she’s helped students suffering from anxiety and depression.

“Also, a lot of kids deal with self-confidence issues, self-esteem issues," said Quast.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24, and the number of children ages six to 17 years diagnosed with anxiety or depression has increased over time. When it comes to mental health, Horry County Schools said it takes the topic seriously.

“Our school district has put a lot of resources out there for the stability of our students,” said Horry County Schools spokesperson Lisa Bourcier.

The district is now adding three more Rehabilitative Behavioral Health Services counselors. That’s on top of the eight RBHS counselors added last year.

With the district’s own counselors and those provided by Waccamaw Center for Mental Health, Horry County Schools now has at least one counselor on hand at all times for each of its 56 schools.

“When you see incidents out there, there are students that are reaching out for help in odd ways sometimes. So we do have resources to not only for the victim of an incident but somebody that’s actually doing the bullying as well because they need services,” said Bourcier.

Each school in the district also has a bullying prevention and intervention team with one member serving as the lead representative, as well as a plan in place to deter bullying.

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