Brooke Curry


shortage, school psychologist, mental health, special education, students, burnout, solutions


For decades, there has been a severe shortage of school psychologists and a rising number of children and adolescents with untreated behavioral and mental disorders in the United States (Castillo et al., 2014). The current national ratio of school psychologists to students is estimated to be 1:1211, which is a concerning shift from the recommended ratio of 1:500-1:700, school psychologists to students (NASP, n.d.-a). This ongoing shortage may lead to issues both for the school psychologists themselves and for the students they help. For instance, Schilling et al. (2017) found that 90% of school psychologists have reported experiencing burnout at some point in their career. In addition, the large number of caseloads that contribute to burnout utilize a significant amount of time. Benson et al. (2019) explained that school psychologists spend an estimated 50% of their time performing assessments and services for special education (SPED). Although these SPED assessments are important, mental health interventions and meetings should also be prioritized, but have not been, due to lack of personnel (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020, as cited in Winsor & Mueller, 2020). The solution for this shortage is not simple. However, potential ideas include testing different recruitment methods, examining expansions on current graduate school programs for school psychology, and addressing the funding allocated to schools at a federal and state level.

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