School Counseling vs Mental Health Counseling: What's the Difference?

St. Agnes Academy
School counseling vs mental health counseling – need help understanding the difference? We offer a range of support services for students to support their development. Learn more.
Counselors can be an invaluable resource to young people during their formative years. Schools like St. Agnes Academy recognize the importance of mental wellness and offer counseling services and other mental health resources for students of every age.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, school counseling is a rapidly growing profession, which speaks to the fact that more and more schools are recognizing the importance of fostering mental wellness within their communities.

There are a few different types of counseling services available to students, depending on their specific needs. It is important for students and their families to carefully research their counseling options to ensure students find the right fit for their circumstances.

The Wellness Center at St. Agnes Academy offers a broad range of counseling services to help students address specific issues during their high school years and lay a comprehensive framework for their future mental wellness.

Let’s explore some of the available school counseling options at St. Agnes and discuss the key differences in the roles between school counseling vs mental health counseling.

School Counseling vs Mental Health Counseling: Why It Matters

There is a substantial amount of overlap in the kinds of services offered by school counselors and mental health counselors. However, there are many significant distinctions between the two professions.

School counselors and mental health counselors can all offer valuable support to students on a personal wellness journey, but these professionals often have unique roles, educational backgrounds, and areas of specialization.

What is a School Counselor?

School counselors work specifically with students to help address common issues that may negatively impact their mental health and wellness while enrolled in school. School counselors work almost exclusively in academic settings like K-12 schools and other educational facilities to address the specific needs of their student population. 

School counselors may meet with students individually or offer small group resources and other school-wide initiatives that are designed to provide key support for academic and personal issues alike.

School counselors often focus substantially on helping students set and achieve academic goals. They may be called in to offer support in cases where a student is struggling to thrive in a classroom setting. In many cases, school counselors help students with the college application process and offer valuable resources to make the admissions experience more successful across the board.

A school counselor will generally hold a counseling degree or master’s degree in another related field and are subject to the specific licensing requirement of their state and local school system.

Additionally, school counselors must receive substantial training and education in child development, mental health issues, substance abuse problems, and more to effectively support a student body.

It’s important to note that a school counselor is not the same thing as a school psychologist, though a school counselor may choose to consult with or make referrals to school psychologists in some cases.

What is a Mental Health Counselor?

Mental health counselors and school counselors are all tasked with supporting students’ wellness needs, but mental health counselors focus on a student’s mental health rather than on their academic performance or other associated variables.

The term “mental health counselor” functions essentially as an umbrella term, as there are many types of mental health degrees and licenses that may fall under this category. A mental health counselor may be a:

  • Licensed clinical social worker
  • Licensed clinical mental health counselor 
  • Licensed professional counselor
  • Licensed marriage and family therapist 
  • Clinical psychologist 
  • Psychiatrist with a private practice

Each of these mental health professionals is subject to strict academic and clinical requirements to obtain licensure. Each approach to mental health counseling shares the same goal of promoting a client’s overall mental wellness, but there are key differences in how these professionals diagnose and treat mental illnesses and other conditions.

For example, a marriage and family therapist will focus their counseling on the unique role a client plays in their relationships and family systems, while clinical mental health counselors tend to take a more individualistic view of a client’s needs and behaviors.

What Types of Counseling are Offered at St. Agnes?

The counseling program at St. Agnes Academy offers a few different ways to support students of all backgrounds and abilities. St. Agnes’s Student Support Services houses the Wellness Counseling Department and Student Success Center. Our Student Success Center specifically focuses on providing accommodations and resources for students with disabilities and specific learning needs.

Our student success specialists hold thorough one-on-one consultations with students looking for support in areas like organization, time management, study skills, test-taking strategies, self-advocacy, and executive functioning skills. 

The Wellness Center also offers targeted support, resources, and other services for St. Agnes students. The Wellness department regularly hosts workshops, events, and other preventative programming to promote healthy lifestyle choices and academic success.

Our school counselors work closely with students throughout their time at St. Agnes to help them set and achieve specific academic and personal goals. Wellness counselors can assist students with course enrollment and registration and offer one-on-one counseling services in moments when a student might benefit from additional targeted support.

Talk To Us More About Your Child’s Well-Being

At St. Agnes Academy, we strive to offer a wide variety of mental health-related resources and programming to effectively support the far-reaching needs of developing young women.

If you’re interested in learning more about our counseling services and other resources or just want to learn more about how we differentiate school counseling vs mental health counseling, reach out today for more information. We are glad to discuss our mental health support for students at St. Agnes.