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Not only teachers are missing. 450 communes in Poland do not have a single school psychologist

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According to the report of the GrownSpace Foundation, there is not a single school psychologist in 450 communes in Poland. Czarny Dunajec in Podhale is facing the collapse of psychological support, which is why the city asks the board of trustees for permission to employ students who could look after students. In the whole country, however, it is the worst in rural communes, located far from larger cities.

13 schools, and not a single psychologist in them since September – this is the vision that Czarny Dunajec in Podhale is facing. There are simply no willing psychologists. – If we can offer 6 to 9 hours maximum in a given school, it is not a very attractive offer – says Marcin Ratułowski, the mayor of Czarny Dunajec.

Almost every fifth commune in Poland is in the same situation. According to the analysis carried out by the GrowSpace Foundation, there is a shortage of over two thousand school psychologists across the country. Almost every third position is vacant. – We have identified 450 such critical points. 450 communes in Poland do not have a single psychologist or school psychologist – points out Dominik Kuc from the GrowSpace Foundation.

Municipalities in Poland where there is not a single psychologistGrowSpace Foundation

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In Czarny Dunajec, the authorities have an idea how to help students. Once again, they applied to the school board for permission to employ students. – Without such consent, our schools will be without psychological services – stresses Marcin Ratułowski.

The worst situation in rural communes

There are more schools in Podkarpacie without a psychologist than those with a psychologist. Throughout the country, it is the worst in rural communes, far from larger cities.

– We want to have this psychologist, the director also does everything she can on her part. However, as you can see, there is no such psychologist. Nobody wants to come to small schools part-time – points out Elżbieta Prymarczyk, secretary of the Cedry Wielkie commune.

Vacancies of psychologists/psychologistsGrowSpace Foundation

How important is it that every student has the opportunity to knock on the office in their school? We asked the foundation that receives those who lacked this help earlier. – Children come to us very late. This means that they reach for the help of a psychologist when it is already very bad, when in fact it is a state on the verge of hospitalization. This psychologist at your fingertips is needed so that children can solve their difficulties, which they have a lot of – replies Joanna Paduszyńska from the Elephants on the Balcony Foundation.

See also: Many students have no will to live, almost 9 percent have attempted suicide. Unawez Foundation Report

Students usually come to talk about conflicts with friends or family, but also about cyberbullying. There are also those who need help immediately. – I worked with the court, with probation officers. There were situations when it was necessary to include such services, just social assistance, when it was necessary to help the family – says Anna Olankowicz, a school psychologist.

In those schools where a psychologist is present, there is often no chance to get to him, because he works, for example, 2/5 of the time, as in two schools in Cedry Wielkie in Pomerania. – Let’s imagine a situation that a psychologist is at school on Monday, Tuesday, but a mental health crisis, a suicidal crisis will happen on Wednesday, and what will the teaching staff say then? – asks Dominik Kuc from the GrowSpace Foundation.

Warsaw will have suicidal prevention in schools. This was decided by the people of Warsaw themselvesAdrianna Otręba/Fakty TVN

Why is psychological help so important?

Often, school is the only place where a young person can count on constant help from a psychologist without asking for parental consent. – A child, even one who is 15 or 17 years old, cannot simply find a trusted psychologist somewhere and use this help regularly – for all this you need the consent of a parent – points out Dr. Aleksandra Piotrowska, a child psychologist.

Read also: In the Senate, they propose a project that “will enable young people to access a psychologist without the consent of a legal guardian”

All this is happening at a time when the number of young Poles in mental crises is alarming. Last year alone, more than 2,000 suicide attempts among children and adolescents were recorded. 150 resulted in death.

– The psychologist is there to prevent children’s suicide attempts, because it is very often the case that children in the class know that a friend is self-mutilating, that something is wrong with him, that he is not feeling well, and children carry this secret because there is no adult who would treat this problem seriously – Joanna Paduszyńska points out.

On Monday, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski boasted that spending on child psychiatry had quadrupled. It is very important, but we ask for this first aid in mental crises, precisely in schools. This is the job of the Ministry of Education. – Staff will always be too little, so in this respect we try to harmonize, on the one hand, dividing tasks, and on the other hand, not competing, not breaking the rates – explains Niedzielski.

Finding a psychologist is often even more difficult than finding a teacher, because a school psychologist earns even less than a teacher. – This is the so-called teaching position. We have salaries just like teachers. We don’t have any extras because we’re psychologists. The teacher still has upbringing, he can have overtime – points out Anna Olankowicz, a school psychologist.

Until the broadcast of this material, the Ministry of Education and Science did not answer our questions about psychologists in schools.

Main photo source: Facts after noon TVN24

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