Counseling Advocacy for Children's Mental Health

Counseling advocacy refers to promoting counseling as a career. Such advocacy is significant due to the dependency of counseling profession on public perception of counselors as being able to educate, provide, research and help their clients (, n.d). Sweeney, 1998 and 1999, as cited by (, n.d) identified six advocacy themes; market place recognition, counselor education, inter-professional issues, research, intra professional relations, and client awareness. Advocacy is a challenging concept due to absence of set of instructions concerning where and how to commence and what entails effectiveness.

One of the advocacy issues I am acquainted with at the individual client level is advocacy for children’s mental health. It has come to my attention that the needs of the children with mental health disorder have not been met by our present healthcare system. Albeit for every one out of five children in the U.S suffers from diagnosable mental health disorder, it is only 21% of the victimized children actually received the required medical diagnosis (American Academy of Pediatrics, n.

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d). Mental illness is similar to any other disease; the earlier it gets detected and diagnosed, the better the health results.

I have noted that across the U.S, there is solemn deficiency of pediatric subspecialists and child mental health providers, both groups that accord basic services to children as well as adolescents having special mental along with physical health care needs (American Academy of Pediatrics, n.d). These deficiencies have resulted to reduced consumption of required diagnosis, long wait times, coupled with long distance traveled to care.

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In this advocacy issue it is the children who are experiencing a barrier that hampers their well-being. The affected children are likely to benefit from the advocacy efforts when provided with enough pediatric subspecialists and child mental health cares. These specialists will be in charge of providing them with basic medical services like special mental and physical health care needs. To put these advocacy efforts into practice, the American Academy of Pediatrics gave three propositions;

  1.  adoption of policies that will lead to development of a robust workforce of a child as well as adolescent mental health specialists,
  2.  facilitation of the capability of primary care pediatricians to offer early identification and diagnosis for children having mental health disorders, and
  3.  improvement of school-based mental health services and supports.

One of the resources required for implementation of the advocacy efforts is advocacy allies such as; pediatric physician colleagues, school counselors, child psychologists, social workers and teachers. The allies, who are likely the families and adolescents being treated, will help in illuminating how policy might impact not only children but also adolescent psychiatrists, families among other professionals (Ptakowski, 2016). Other resources include; advocacy policies, legislators, and media. The parents of children bearing mental health needs as well as mental health providers were asked to list and give a description of the barriers to accessing diagnosis for the kids. The outcome of the study displayed a common trend; parents struggling to meet the high expenses when seeking medical attention, inaccessibility to specialists, and difficulty in finding community support for their children (Arnold, 2010). Eliminating these will be analogous to making a step ahead in advocacy for children’s mental health. The 20/20 vision for the future of counseling identifies seven principles critical in moving the counseling profession some steps ahead. Amongst the seven principles, the one that resonate most with me is sharing a common professional identity.

It is important for professional counselors to demonstrate not only clarity about their professional identity but also how that identity is articulated to other mental health professions and to the public such as; legislators, trainees along with consumers. I would propose implementation of this vision using my advocacy efforts to strengthen identity through; unity, legislation, clears identification of members, and clear communication (Cashwell, Kleist, and Scofield, 2009). Some of the resources required for implementation of this vision include state licensure laws and professional counseling organizations to encourage membership among people who are aligned with another mental health profession. Some of the barriers to sharing a common professional identity include; difficulty working conditions, systematic challenges like poor leadership, conflicting professional practices, and poorly designed professional development. These barriers impede sharing of a common professional identity and therefore should be given a lot of emphasis in order to improve counseling profession in future and meet the 20/20 vision.

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Counseling Advocacy for Children's Mental Health. (2022, Sep 14). Retrieved from

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