The U.S. Senate adopted a bipartisan resolution making the week of Nov. 7, 2022 National School Psychology Week.
Although the 2022 resolution was introduced by Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., and Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., National School Psychology Week was also recognized in 2021 through the initiative of other bipartisan members of the Senate.
The resolution was put in place to honor practicing school psychologists in the United States, recognize their “vital” role in students’ academic and personal success and describe the importance of supporting children’s mental health to ensure proper social and emotional development and create safer schools, according to a Nov. 18 Senate press release.
According to Frank C. Worrell, the 2022 president of the American Psychological Association and a professor in the Berkeley School of Education, school psychology services are needed “more than ever.” Rates of anxiety and depression have been increasing in children and youth and exacerbated by the pandemic. This can lead to consequences on academic, behavioral and social skills.
“School psychologists play a vital role in schools. Although most closely associated with identifying students for special education services, school psychologists provide a broad range of additional services including prevention and early intervention, so that problems do not become acute,” Worrell said in an email. “They can intervene when students are in distress and they can also facilitate students being their best selves.”
According to Worrell, school psychologists can consult with teachers, parents and administrators to work as both mental health providers and educational interventionists.
Kate Perry, director of the doctoral program in school psychology in the School of Education, echoed similar sentiments to Worrell, citing the ongoing impact of the pandemic on students and the school system on the mental health of youth.
“School Psychologists are of critical importance to the success of students and the educational systems that serve them,” Perry said in an email. They are dedicated to providing comprehensive, school-based psychological services to children and families and they work to address system level barriers to student success.”
According to Perry, national recognition of the role of school psychologists is “incredibly important” for several reasons.
The recognition week, she said, has the potential to amplify the impact of school psychologists, expand student access to mental health services and provide support for teachers and school leaders. There is also a shortage of school psychologists across the country, and this week of recognition could raise awareness about the career path as well as encourage more individuals to consider it for their futures.