“The academic advisor is responsible for organizing tutorials for all classes, organizing study plans, giving 7 hours a week of language diversification to students and psychological care for almost 1000 students in the center. Conchi cannot cope.” Antonio García, Director of the Professor Máximo Trueba Institute in Boadilla del Monte, a town of 62,000 inhabitants west of Madrid, the multiple services of the Institute’s Academic Advisor, Concepción López, Conchi, to explain why they joined the Official Psice Project. The College of Psychology of Madrid is developed in 13 educational centers in the region.
“The Psice project is trying to obtain scientific evidence to try to convince the administrations that, like the presence of an academic advisor for each center, creating the specialty of educational psychology in Secondary Education Coercion (ESO) and the bachelor’s degree will help a lot to improve the prevention and detection of mental health problems in children and young people, as the dean of the Official College of Psychology of Madrid, Jose Antonio Luengo sums up the objectives of this project. “Based on this study with a specific method of delivery, we want to provide you with data that corroborates the benefits of adding an educational psychologist to the figure of an academic advisor,” Luengo details the Psice project that is carried out in eight other legal Autonomous Communities (Galicia, Asturias, La Rioja, Castilla La Mancha, Community of Valencia, Andalusia, Murcia and the Canary Islands).
“The project is carried out in 13 public, private and aided schools and institutions in areas with different economic levels to ensure scientific conclusions,” says the Dean of this study. The psychological plan consists of five steps. The first stage of the Official College of Psychology of Madrid was to reach an agreement with these 13 educational centers, to participate and accompany the dissemination of the project.
“It is of great interest to us,” says Concepción López, a 46-year-old academic adviser at the Máximo Trueba Institute, who admits that, despite her training in psychology, she has worked on many occasions to prevent health problems from being detected and detected. in time, mental health such as anxiety, depression, destructive behavior and drug addiction and social networks of children and adolescents between 12 and 18 years of age who are in ESO and in high school. “One counselor for 1,000 students is not enough,” concludes Conception, along the same lines as the director of the institute. In 2021, 4,003 people took their own lives in Spain, according to the annual report of the Suicide Observatory, making it the year with the worst suicides on record since data were available (1906). Of them, 314 were minors, 57% more than in 2020, says the National Institute of Statistics (INE).
After the selection of schools and institutes, the Psice project has just concluded a field study, through which it selects about twenty boys, girls and adolescents from ESO and high school participating in the study. The selection consists of certain questions, which are answered without permission by all the students of the center, whose parents have given their permission. “Almost all the families have signed the authorization,” said the director Maximo Trueba, the only person who can access the file in which the assigned number is linked to the name of the students.
“My whole class and I’m a participant. They asked if you were feeling well, if you were doing sports, if you were consuming any substance. students,” says Borja Jaimes, a 15-year-old student in ESO’s fourth year who reached Professor Maximo Trueba at the Public Institute a year ago.
“Once they have the data, they send it to the University of La Rioja. Always with the codes, they choose boys or girls who have concluded that they are at risk of suffering from anxiety, depression, or any other mental problems,” details. counselor . “Students who do not detect the danger are left out of the study. And those who are found to be struggling with problems, talk to the director, he is the only one who knows to whom each code corresponds, so that they can be referred to the specialist, Dean of the College of Psychology in Madrid.
The official psychologist of the College of Psychology of Madrid will apply two methods to each group to obtain conclusions
“After the election, we are going to make two groups of 10 or 11 students of different ages. During extracurricular hours, psychologists from the Official College of Psychology will come. We work with each group in a different way”; emphasizes Concepcion. The idea is that, compared to these two groups, scientific evidence is provided for the benefits of having psychological educational students who complete the figure of an academic advisor. “In one group we are going to do 10 sessions of progressive relaxation techniques with experts. In the other group they will also do 10 sessions with students, but with the Psyche movement work plan designed by the College of Psychology, more sophisticated”, explains Conchi with a friendly and calm voice which, not Despite his heavy workload, Maximo Trueba helps students deal with fears and insecurities that are common in youth. From shortly before Easter until the end of the course, at least two psychologists from the College of Psychology, one for each group, once a week at 13 participating centers, to complete 10 workshops with students in each group. “They will also do two other sessions in which their families participate,” says the counselor about the plans that both groups are going to start.
“We want to encourage the central government to have at least one psychologist per center to complete the counseling,” explains the Dean of the Official College of Psychology in Madrid
After 12 workshops, the College of Psychology will complete follow-up interviews to prepare reports in 3, 6, 12 and 18 months that serve as scientific documents for management. “The state is responsible for the specialists. Research aims to provide information, so that the central government includes at least one educational psychologist per center. For communities, research will help to see what is happening in schools,” Luengo emphasizes. .
After the passengers in learning mathematics and coming home from the Physical Education class, Borja admits that he is “a little stressed”: “I have a little time because of the tests in the last weeks and because of a personal problem: the coach of my career course does not accept me, I have played a few games and I it creates frustration,” said the 15-year-old teenager, who recently deleted his TikTok account. “The pressure is strong, it uses almost everyone and I felt I was wasting my time,” Borja maintains. The counselor points out that “social networks increase insecurities and the need for group acceptance”: “Young people use the networks for several hours a day on their mobile phones, they compare themselves a lot with others, they want to show themselves happy. It is polite… There is a big difference between the last generations and the older ones which don’t have internet on mobile phones”.
“Talking to teachers about mental health issues is very difficult for us. We don’t have that confidence and the subjects themselves are very self-conscious.”
“If you have a problem, where would you go to the government department? Do you think your colleagues know where to start?” Concepción asks. “For we keep it to ourselves, we think alone and it’s difficult for us to ask for help. We don’t know how to differentiate at what point we should talk to someone. Even if you have a big problem, it’s usually great.” When they are encouraged to tell their problems to an adult, Borja promises “to talk first with our parents or friends”: “Talks with teachers about mental health problems I think is the most difficult for us, we do not have confidence. It is difficult. They are very attentive to their math, biology or to another matter”. Conchi agrees and adds: “If they know that I have taught them or that they have spoken before me, it is easier for them to come and tell me about their problems,” emphasizes the sole counselor for almost 1,000 students at the Professor Maximus Trueba Institute. in Boadilla del Monte,
“Teachers lack the training to detect mental health problems in our students”
“The master’s degree in ESO teaching classes and high school does not give us enough training to know how to prevent and detect the mental problems our adolescent students have,” said Borja teacher at the Professor Maximo Trueba Public Institute, Antonio Garcia, 5 years old. “Poor and primary school teachers are better trained for a perfect teaching career,” Albert maintains. The lack of resources in schools is eliminated if the academic counselor is not a psychologist. “If the opposition is removed, the counselors can be brought to justice. This does not usually happen, but it is possible,” says the dean of the Madrid College of Psychology. “We don’t have the tools to detect that a student is suffering from school failure or destructive behavior,” admits Albert.
“Talking about suicide with teachers is not a taboo subject, but it is uncomfortable,” said Borja, a 15-year-old student in the fourth year of ESO. Concepción explains that “in ESO we work in the management of movement and access to drugs and technology, but it is not enough”: “In the coexistence plan, a series of activities are organized and the learning activity is protected in the protection of the plans of the hours. You work from the mode of prevention from the first to the fourth year of the ESO, when they are 12 and 16. In the first and second year in social skills, expressions of emotions, management of emotional disorders, eating, preventing addictions to substances, to technologies … that’s where the police manager Boadilla helps us “. Despite greater social awareness of mental health issues, Conchi regrets that “with a counselor for almost a thousand students”, it is very difficult to achieve the first detection, which reduces the risk of stress, anxiety, suicide or any other problem, big or small, related to their emotional well-being: “If a psychologist arrives at the institution , undoubtedly improved the prevention and detection of psychological disorders, which ma the young suffer more and more.