No matter what age, navigating through school can be challenging for all students. This is especially true for children and young adults who are struggling with substance abuse, mental health disorders, and family issues. That's why most schools employ a Student Assistance Coordinator (SAC). Here's what SACs do, and why school-based SACs are valuable assets to children and young adults.
Student assistance coordinators (SACs) are trained certified intervention specialists who meet with students to discuss the problems they may be experiencing, such as:
The SAC is responsible for promoting healthy lifestyle choices, providing additional education, prevention, intervention, and referral services, and showcasing students' academic success and achievements.
In addition to meeting one-on-one with students, the SAC is typically also responsible for coordinating events and assemblies to educate the district's students and parents. This can include:
SACs strive to make a positive impact on their students' lives by providing students with the tools they need to gain personal insight and grow. Most SACs meet with students to discuss any difficulties the child may be experiencing with alcohol and drug use, their mental health, or family issues at home.
SACs are often able to provide a safe space for students who are experiencing difficulties at home. Throughout the Student Assistance Counseling process, the SAC and student can explore whatever issues the student is facing and work together to develop healthy and effective coping mechanisms. For students who don't have a strong support system at home, school is often their safe place, which can help them feel more comfortable with discussing what's troubling them. Everything that the student and SAC discuss is confidential unless the student is being abused or is in immediate danger of harming themselves or others.
When students feel as though they don't have an adequate support system at home, or if they're struggling academically or socially, they may be tempted to turn to substance abuse as a coping mechanism. Through educational assemblies, events, and one-on-one counseling, SACs can help students understand the effects substance abuse can have on them, both now and in the future.
SACs typically have a background in psychology so they're equipped to help students who are struggling with emotional or mental health issues find the right tools, counseling, and resources. Some SACs even have their advanced degree in mental health counseling and can help students and their parents develop healthy coping strategies to navigate through any challenging situation the student may face, both in school and at home. This can include providing access to: