Mental health staffing in majority-minority schools

A January 2019 report from the U.S. Department of Education shows that schools where a majority of students are from racial and ethnic minorities have similar mental health staffing levels as majority-White schools. Drawing on data from the 2015016 National Teacher and Principal Survey, the report reveals that 94% of schools, both majority-White and majority-minority, have at least one full- or part-time counselor, psychologist, social worker, or other mental health staff member. The percentage of majority-White schools with counselors (82%) was slightly higher than the percentage of majority-minority schools (80%), while the reverse was true for psychologists (67% of majority-minority schools had counselors, as opposed to 66% of majority-White schools). The largest gap was in the percentage of schools with social workers who were also the least common mental health professionals employed in schools (45% majority-minority and 37% majority-White).

Having mental health staff is one positive step, but the level of staffing is also important. Here, again, the staffing levels are similar in predominately White and non-White schools. On average, both types of schools employ one mental health staff member per 260 students. In majority-minority schools, the number of students per counselor and psychologist is slightly higher and the number of students per social worker is slightly lower than in mostly White schools.

Source: U.S. Department of Education. (2019). Data point: Mental health staff in public schools, by school racial and ethnic composition. Washington, DC: Author.

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