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The BCSCA produces two outstanding publications each year in the form of BC School Counsellor!

Preview two of the more recent articles below. 

One Stone at a Time: Pursuing Positive Change
in Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use

Child and youth mental health and substance use (MHSU) is a complex topic impacting schools across British Columbia (BC). The 2018 BC Adolescent Health Survey found that 15% of students in grades 7 to 12 reported having a mental health condition (23% of females, 8% of males, 43% of non-binary students; Smith, et al., 2019). Meanwhile, 44% of all students surveyed reported having tried alcohol, 25% had tried cannabis, and 20% of grade 12 students reported trying a substance other than alcohol or cannabis. These statistics are important given the proven impacts of early-life MHSU concerns on later-life well-being. Research has also shown that people with the greatest need for MHSU services often face the greatest barriers to accessing those services (McGorry & Mei, 2018). Given this information, a common question is “How can we (individually and collectively) change things for the better for children and youth?”

The purpose of this article is to draw upon empirical evidence and anecdotal experience to explore this question from an interdisciplinary perspective. Claire approaches the question as a Registered Nurse with more than a decade of experience in Lower Mainland hospital and community child and youth MHSU services. Wanda approaches the question as a recently-retired school counsellor with over two decades of experience in Greater Victoria School District elementary and middle schools. Wanda and Claire are also mother and daughter, and they share a passionate belief that change for the better is always possible, and it can start by turning over one stone at a time. This mantra reminds both authors that the journey towards achieving every goal can start with a single step.

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By Claire Pitcher & Wanda Murphy

Cultivating Connection to Nurture Hope

In my experience, there is no more hopeful place to work than as a school counsellor. The privilege of working with young people and their challenges is what keeps me most engaged and hopeful in my daily work as long as I am able to remember and “embrace the possibility of transformation and the understanding that what [I] do matters, even though how and when it will matter, who and what it may impact, are not things [I] can know beforehand” (Barlow, 2022, p. 3). The work of school counselling requires tolerance of uncertainty and a focus on the hope of process rather than results. In a letter to a friend, Thomas Merton gave succinct counsel on this: 


Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle  less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything (1966, as cited in Shannon, 1993).

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By Shirley Giroux, Ph.D., R.C.C.

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