top of page

Mental Health Specialists in Montgomery County Public Schools

Over the past 10 years, the number of students in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) has grown exponentially; however, the rate of school psychologists in the county has not kept pace. Currently, the ratio of both school psychologists and counselors to students is 1 to 1800 in MCPS schools. This is clearly not within the National Association of School Psychologists recommendation of one psychologist for every 500 students ratio or the American School Counselor Association recommendation of one school counselor for every 250 students. In a growing school district like MCPS, the hiring and distribution of mental health specialists should be prioritized.

Mental health conditions and resources have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and its effects are still prevalent in the student population. People are concerned about the mental health of the student population as they have been facing constant changes to their daily life and have been unable to find a trusted adult to talk to. In a recent county forum regarding mental health, over 100 students and parents attended due to concerns in the community over a nationwide teen mental health crisis. After transitioning to in-person learning this past year, the effects of the pandemic have been exacerbated and are more evident. Students have been facing anxiety due to the uncertainty and the potential insecurity in their lives. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year. These numbers are especially worrying as these mental health issues can significantly affect a student’s education since high school students with significant symptoms of depression are more than twice as likely to drop out compared to their peers.

In order to combat these often overlooked issues, MCPS should allocate significant funding toward the hiring and distribution of mental health specialists, such as psychologists and social workers in schools. The Montgomery County Council has recently approved $8 million in funding to open high school wellness centers, which provide a range of mental health services, including social workers and services. However, it is clear that this is not enough due to the lack of an appropriate ratio of specialists to students in the majority of MCPS schools. There are schools in the county with over 2,000 students that are only given one school psychologist for the entire student population. MCPS students are in need of easily accessible and informative mental health resources to feel comfortable in their learning environment. By hiring more mental health specialists in schools, students will have the opportunity to further their education and lead healthier lives. While these issues may not be visible or physical, they affect a majority of students, especially those in high-school, and should be treated with importance and prioritized. By expanding these services across the county, the school board can help ensure that mental health issues are de-stigmatized in the community.

Works Cited

Laroski, Amelia. “MCPS, DHHS Hold Mental Health Forum to Spread Awareness of Student Resources.” The Black and White,

“Mental Health by the Numbers.” NAMI, Prothero, Arianna, and Maya Riser-Kositsky. “School Counselors and Psychologists Remain Scarce Even as Needs Rise.” Education Week, Education Week, 1 June 2022,

Pyo, Rosa. “'It Haunts Me': Mental Health Crises in MCPS on the Upswing.” Montgomery Community Media, 22 Nov. 2021,

Written by Educational Policy Department

Published by PR Department


bottom of page