South Carolina Association of School Psychologists

Supporting learning and mental health of youth in South Carolina.

Preparing for the StormHurricane Irma

Once again, residents of South Carolina and neighboring states are facing the possibility of another frightening weather event. Earlier this week, our governor declared a state of emergency for South Carolina as we prepare for the possibility of Hurricane Florence heading in our direction. With all of you, we are hoping that the storm will remain well off-shore.

Given both South Carolina's recent history with weather events over the past three years, we recognize that this can be an anxiety-provoking event. As a service to members and other contacts, we'd like to provide you all with resources that we hope will help you, your colleagues, and your students in the upcoming days and weeks. Please feel free to share with your friends. We intend to periodically update information via email, our website, and social media (Facebook and Twitter).

We hope that all of you will remain safe during this time. We know that as a community and as school psychologists, we will find ways to support one another in the days ahead.

Recovery Resources

The following disaster related guides and resources may benefit school psychologists, school administrators, teachers, parents, and the community as Hurricane Irma approaches.   

 For Hurricane Preparation and Recovery        

 For Activities while Sheltering-in-Place or Evacuating
For Caretakers
We will be providing continued communication and resources in the days and weeks to come.  Like you, we are proud to call South Carolina home, and we will be working to support our members, colleagues, students, and school professionals in whatever capacity is possible.

South Carolina Community Resources

South Carolina Emergency Management Division
The SC EMD website provides a wide array of hurricane-related resources, including information on shelters, volunteer opportunities, school closings, and applying for disaster relief.

Red Cross South Carolina
The Red Cross is busy throughout the state, preparing for the storm.  Information is available on their website regarding general hurricane preparedness.  More Irma-specific information will likely be available on its home page as it becomes available.

Follow the Red Cross on Twitter for updates

Disaster Distress Hotline 
The Disaster Distress Helpline is a national hotline dedicated to providing year-round immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster. Call 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish) or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.   

2- 1- 1 Community Resources 

DIAL 2-1-1 or 866-892-9211 to speak with a referral specialist or go to the website. Free, confidential, 24/7, any language. To scroll through resources related to a disaster preparedness and response, please visit their website.

NASP shares three tasks for crisis response team after natural disasters: 

Identify children and youth who are high risk and plan interventions.  Risk factors are outlined in the above section on children’s reactions. Interventions may include individual counseling, small group counseling, or family therapy.  From group crisis interventions and by maintaining close contact with teachers and parents, the school crisis response team can determine which students need supportive crisis intervention and counseling services.  A mechanism also needs to be in place for self-referral and parental-referral of students.

Support teachers and other school staff. Provide staff members with information on the symptoms of children’s stress reactions and guidance on how to handle class discussions and answer children’s question. As indicated, offer to help conduct a group discussion. Reinforce that teachers should pay attention to their own needs and not feel compelled to do anything they are not comfortable doing. Suggest that administrators provide time for staff to share their feelings and reactions on a voluntary basis as well as help staff develop support groups. In addition, teachers who had property damage or personal injury to themselves or family members will need leave time to attend to their needs.

Engage in post-disaster activities that facilitate healing.  La Greca and colleagues have developed a manual for professionals working with elementary school children following a natural disaster.  Activities in this manual emphasize three key components supported by the empirical literature: (a) exposure to discussion of disaster-related events, (b) promotion of positive coping and problem-solving skills, and (c) strengthening of children’s friendship and peer support.

School Violence Response Resources

Our hearts are heavy as we learn of the shooting at Townville Elementary School in Anderson School District Four. As an organization, SCASP wishes to provide our sincere condolences to the Townville community. We would also like to offer support to school psychologists, teachers, administrators, parents, and students across the state.

Incidents like these often lead to feelings of fear, anger, and sadness. These reactions can be particularly strong in children, especially those who may already be facing loss or other trauma in their lives. For this reason, we have provided links to resources from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP),which may be helpful to you.

In addition, if you would like consultation regarding site-specific crisis response concerns, please know that there are many professionals available to support you. In particular, throughout the state, there are numerous mental health professionals (including school psychologists, school social workers, and school counselors) who have been trained in crisis response via the PREPaRE model. The PREPaRE model has been developed by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) as a means of providing evidence-baed crisis preparation and response skills to school professionals. If you or your school district would like additional information regarding PREPaRE-trained personnel near you, please contact Dr. Lisa Lipscomb at

SCASP is proud to be a part of a resilient, strong community of educators and mental health professionals in South Carolina. We stand with you all in this difficult time.

Governor’s Task Force on Domestic Violence: Training for Professionals

To The Licensees of the Board of Examiners for Licensure of Professional Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists and Psycho-Educational Specialists,

On January 29, 2015, Governor Nikki Haley established the Domestic Violence Task Force through Executive Order 2015-04. The Task Force was charged with tackling the cultural issues surrounding domestic violence in the State of South Carolina. One of the specific areas targeted was education for licensed professionals in the state of South Carolina. We’ve learned that most of our licensees don’t get training regarding domestic violence and those that do aren’t aware of the resources available to their patients who are in need of help.

To that end, the Task Force has assembled all of the available continuing education for Counseling licensees on domestic violence. Licensees will receive continuing education credit for taking these courses. Those available courses are linked below. It is the position of Board of Examiners for Licensure of Professional Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists and Psycho-Educational Specialists to strongly encourage licensees to take continuing education on domestic violence. Also, attached is a link that will direct you to information regarding resources available across the state for victims of domestic violence. There is information on resources available for all 46 counties in South Carolina. Please use this information to assist those in need. Together, we can achieve the goal of significantly reducing domestic violence in the state of South Carolina. We strongly encourage you to be a part of the solution.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please visit the website, or email us at

The Board of Examiners for Licensure of Professional Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists and Psycho-Educational Specialists

You may view the information for Professionals by visiting:

You may view the CE information by visiting:

SCASP at the State House Again! June 1, 2015

As some of you may know, a group of SCASP representatives met with Molly Spearman, courtesy of the efforts of Sandra Callaham. At the meeting, we discussed a number of issues pertaining to school psychology. While there, Ms. Spearman suggested that we testify before the Task Force on Equity in Education. The Task Force is an outgrowth of a 20-year-old lawsuit filed by 38 or so primarily rural, high-poverty districts, alleging that S.C.'s funding system for education is inequitable. Using a variety of sources, we compiled written testimony to share with the group. Additionally, Jim Harvey represented SCASP and gave oral testimony. Susan Beck  and Sarah Bassin were present as well. 

Some of the written testimony presented:

Monday, June 1, 2015

Honorable Task Force Members,

The South Carolina Association of School Psychologists is honored to testify to you today on the behalf of the mental health needs of children, particularly for students living in poverty, and the role that school psychology may play in improving their chance for success.  

In a recent training, Virgie Chambers, Deputy Superintendent Operations and Support within the South Carolina Department of Education discussed the Profile of the 21st Century Graduate.  She explained that, based upon this profile, which the South Carolina Department of Education has adopted, the goal of education is to prepare students for success in citizenship, career, and college.  To this end, one of the purposes of schools is to provide a community of support to foster the development of the whole child.   

When we talk about the needs of the whole child and those qualities needed for success in school and in life, all of us would quickly name good health, hard work, and academic knowledge.  Equally important, but often neglected, is student mental health.  As cited by Dr. Steven Brock in his welcome to participants in the Regional Meetings of the National Association of School Psychologists:

  • ·         Over 10% of high school dropouts are attributed to mental illness (Breslau et al, 2008);
  • ·         Approximately half of students 14 years and older with a mental illness drop out of high school (U.S. Department of Education, 2001);
  • ·         50% of mental disorders make an appearance by age 14 (Kessler et al, 2005);
  • ·         Approximately 75% to 80% of children and youth in need of mental health services do not receive them because existing services in the community are inadequate (Kataoka, Zang, and Wells, 2002); and
  • ·         Of those who do receive assistance, the vast majority (70% to 80%) receive mental health services in schools....

The complete written testimony will be available with this link.

Thank you to all the school psychologists and SCASP members who helped to compile the information! For those of you that want to see the testimony you can view from the state house page

SCASP at the State House

A press conference was held at the South Carolina Capitol Building on Tuesday, January 13th to announce the release of the findings of the South Carolina Safe Schools Task Force. The final report is available at  Representative Jerry Govan (Chairperson of the Task Force) introduced the report. Senator Wes Hayes (Vice-Chairperson of the Task Force) and Representative Rita Allison (Chairperson of the House Education and Public Works Committee) followed. Lisa Lipscomb (SCASP president and member of the Task Force), Jim Harvey and Sarah Bassin (SCASP legislative committee co-chairpersons) were present, along with representatives from other mental health, education, and school safety groups across the state. The report specifically references school psychologists in its list of school-based mental health providers. It urges collaboration between mental health providers and school safety personnel (such as school resource officers), an inspection of provider ratios, and careful planning for prevention, intervention, and crisis management. Be on the lookout for more information on the webpage, social media, and the SCASP newsletter.

H. 3365 was signed by Governor Haley on June 6, 2014.  This legislation creates a task force looking at School Safety and Mental Health.  This link will take you to the bill:

Resources will be posted soon.

Is your school ready in the event of a crisis?  Visit the NASP website for information on PrePare training.

With a political career spanning more than 20 years, S.C. House Rep. Jerry N. Govan Jr. (D-Orangeburg) has also spent most of his career working in the field of education.

For his commitment to education, Govan was presented the Friends of Education Award during the South Carolina Association of School Psychologists Fall Conference on Oct. 3.

Read more

 Jasper County Sun

COLUMBIA - Providing school children with better mental health services could save lives and money, said Bill Lindsey, executive director of National Alliance on Mental Illness of South Carolina.  During a meeting of a school safety panel Thursday, he briefed legislators on efforts in Minnesota, which he said has placed a mental health counselor in every school, allowing professionals to intervene early when children need help. One of the goals: Prevent mental health problems from developing into a chronic illness.
As a result, Lindsey said schools had lower dropout rates, lower suicide rates, better attendance, and higher graduation rates.
"It's a remarkable outcome from addressing a problem early," he said.  The issues raised at Thursday's meeting were broad, spanning bullying, self-esteem, family conflicts, crises, such as the death of a fellow classmate, and ways to discipline students without ostracizing them through a zero-tolerance approach. 
In January, a judge in Richland County, ruled against the S.C. Department of Corrections in a class action lawsuit representing approximately 3,500 state inmates who were considered to be seriously mentally ill and not receiving treatment while incarcerated.  Those with a serious mental illness make up less than 4 percent of the general population, but within the South Carolina prison population it's about 17 percent, according to the judge's order.
"How many of those folks, if we had had early interventions and school based-services, would be taken care of on the back end?" he said. "How much money does it cost in that prison system to take care of those folks? ... It seems we always have money after the fact but not for preventative measures."
Lisa Lipscomb, president of the S.C. Association of School Psychologists, told lawmakers that 9 percent of middle school students surveyed said they had attempted suicide in the last year.  "It's a very disturbing number," she said.  In South Carolina, Lipscomb said there are 44 school psychologists working in the schools, which amounts to a ratio of about 1 per nearly 1,300 students. The national recommended ratio is 1 per 500-700 students.  "So we're pretty far off," she said.   Counselors through the mental health agency work in one-third of South Carolina's public schools.  In January of last year, agency director John Magill told a House panel that 12,000-13,000 school children receive mental health services per year, and that the state has 179 counselors working in about 400 schools. Discussions frequently turned to the previous month's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.  Magill said the number of school counselors had dropped over the years because of budget cuts to his agency and to schools.       By Sarita Chourey

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