Counseling and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Date of Award

Fall 2023



Degree Level


LCSH subject

Student counselors; Student counselors -- Professional ethics; Students -- Mental health

Proquest Document ID



30422821 (Proquest ID)


St. Mary's University (San Antonio, Tex.)

Size or duration

439 pages

Document Type


First Advisor

Montilla, Romulo


The purpose of this phenomenological qualitative study was to explore the lived experiences of school counselors working in conjoint roles as social–emotional leaders and mental health professionals (MHPs) to address the mental health needs of students through multisystem collaboratives (MSCs) and school-based systems of mental health care (SBSMHC).

The role of the school counselor has expanded into becoming a social–emotional leader and school MHP advocating for comprehensive social–emotional learning and the “school-linked” movement that coalesced their exclusive professional proficiency with both school-based and community resources working to enhance initiatives for student psychosocial development in ways that would increase student assets and resiliency, reduce risk factors, and improve school to community mental health accessibility with the goal of cultivating healthy and productive citizens and workers of tomorrow.

MSCs and SBSMHC have changed the landscape in school counseling and psychosocial educational programming in schools, which suggests a renewed emphasis on an enhanced, strategic, collaborative approach between school and community mental health service agencies to expand student and parent mental health services and to integrate a comprehensive full-service school that provides students holistic solutions to address the psychosocial learning barriers that students face daily.

Over the past several decades, school counselors have struggled with role confusion and their experiences as school counselors who work in conjoint roles as social–emotional leaders and MHPs to address the mental health needs of students through MSCs and SBSMHC. They have also struggled with demonstrating student accountability in the areas of responding to the need for mental health services that promote social–emotional wellness and development for all students.

Moreover, during this revolution school counselors should rework the social–emotional and mental health framework in schools into a multisystem structure that is collaborative, comprehensive, tiered, and designed to address the mental health needs of all students.

Keywords: conjoint roles, social–emotional leaders, school counselors as mental health professionals, mental health, mental health needs of students, multisystem collaboratives, and school-based systems of mental health care (SBSMHC).

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.