The American Counseling Association has designated April as Counseling Awareness Month, which is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the contributions and work of professional counselors. The global pandemic has illuminated the critical role counselors play in all stages of personal development. One positive outcome is the elevation of conversations around normalizing the impact of counseling, care, and treatment.
We must continue to chip away at the public and self-stigma associated with mental illness and continue to look at the underlying issues and trauma that influence personal development and how that plays a role in behavior. Understanding trauma and history are keys to helping create resilience and other strength-based coping mechanisms.
One of the ways professional counselors help is by supporting efforts in Child Abuse Prevention. In addition to Counselor Awareness Month, April is designated as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The focus is to strengthen families and ensure child safety. Counselors provide preventative support to enhance positive parenting practices, enrich nurturing parent-child relationships, and advocate for equity for all families.
Finally, April is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the movement to end sexual violence. Sexual violence is defined as any unwanted sexual contact, ranging from a spectrum of sexually-biased attitudes up to rape (National Sexual Violence Resource Center). Counselors provide evidence-based interventions to support healing and recovery and advocate for shifts in societal norms that perpetuate sexual violence. A national resource on this topic is RAINN. At Pace, we celebrate and appreciate the dedication and contributions of all professional counselors and our social service team. Counselors create an inclusive, collaborative space for individuals to work to navigate stressors and challenges in life. Join us in creating a world where emotional wellness check-ins by a professional counselor are as standard as an annual physical check-up by a primary care physician.