Giving Compass' Take:

• A new report released by GLSEN found that mental health counselors in schools feel they play a strong role in advocating for LGBTQ students, but the majority do not have the competency training or background to support these students adequately. 

•  How can states, school districts, and donors work together to provide this specific training for mental health counselors? 

• Here are some resources to support LGBTQ students. 

While there have always been lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students in our schools, issues regarding sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression are infinitely more prevalent today. School-based mental health professionals play a vital role in creating a climate of support and inclusion for these students and often provide the link among students, teachers, and families at a crucial time in young LGBTQ people’s lives.

That’s why a new report, Supporting Safe and Healthy Schools for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Students, released by GLSEN in partnership with the American Council for School Social Work, the American School Counselor Association, and the School Social Work Association of America, is so timely and relevant.

Examining data from a national online survey of school counselors, psychologists, and social workers in U.S. schools, grades 5 to 12, the report found that the majority hold positive attitudes regarding LGBTQ students and feel they have a pivotal role to play in supporting them.

However, the report is not all good news. It found that 70 percent of school-based mental health providers receive little to no competency training in their graduate programs related to working with lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, and over 80 percent receive little to no competency training related to working with transgender people.

Without LGBTQ-inclusive training at the graduate level and in ongoing professional development, even the most well-intentioned school-based mental health providers may be left without the critical skills they need to support and advocate for LGBTQ students.

Read the full article about advocating for LGBTQ students by Joseph G. Kosciw at The 74