Ease path for psychology interns to help fill students’ mental health needs

The Boston Globe, Letter to the Editor

By Nicholas Covino May 30, 2016

An article published in the Boston Globe described how Massachusetts schools are struggling to cope with the rising mental health needs of their students. In this letter to the editor, President Covino emphasized how creating a pathway for psychology graduate students to count their training in school settings toward their health service provider certification is a step in the right direction in providing quality mental health services to Massachusetts students. It was published on May 30, 2016.

I APPLAUD the Globe for the article “Schools in state striving to cope with rising mental health needs” (Page A1, May 17). One in five children live with a mental health disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If we want to reach these children, it is imperative that we start in our nation’s schools. It’s where the children are. 

The programs outlined in James Vaznis’s article represent a step in the right direction, but schools and the mental health field must work together and not create silos. 

Until recently, psychology graduate students were largely unable to count their training in school settings toward health service provider certification. This roadblock discouraged students from interning in schools and directed them to mental health centers, even though anxiety, depression, and bullying are as prevalent in schools as standardized testing. 

State Representative Ruth Balser, with support from William James College, successfully petitioned for a change in the law regarding psychology licensure to include internship hours in school settings, as part of the state’s effort to reduce gun violence, including in schools. However, for these changes to be implemented, the regulations require further action by the Board of Registration of Psychologists. Future psychologists and the students they serve should benefit from Balser’s advocacy. 

Nicholas Covino
William James College

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