As this edition of NBCCVisions is distributed, our country is in turmoil. We are facing a pandemic, transformations to our health and education systems, and attacks with the continued threat of attack on our government. Counselors are needed more than ever before. Anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, intimate partner violence, and violence within families are being amplified by the isolation we face due to the pandemic. Families and close relationships are being torn asunder by political hostilities. Instead of being viewed as a necessary and important facet of a democratic society, advocating for equity and justice for people of coloris positioned by some as a divisive act. We are in difficult, painful times.
The evaluation of how these times came to be is essential to ensure that we don’t find ourselves in this same place again. However, for counselors during this time, we know we must also seek to take what we have learned from these challenges and anchor that learning in action and growth. This is what we have trained for and we are ready—it is what we do best, as counselors.
We understand the value of systems and also how those systems can serve to create and maintain barriers. We are committed to the value of each individual’s health and worth,and the essential, crucial need for connection. We know that without a doubt, we must lend our voices to calls for increased access to critical health services and care. We understand that many essential opportunities, such as education or employment, are often not equally accessible to all. We know that people are hurting and that a connection with one person who cares can make a difference. Most powerfully, we know that a counselor can serve as not only one person who cares, but also as one person who can connect their client with many other resources.
Counselors—YOU—are critical professionals on the front lines of the battle as our communities seek to emerge from these troubling times stronger than before. At NBCC and Affiliates, we support your work andare making a number of key commitments to you. You’ll continue to see us advocating for counselors and striving to increase access to mental health services for underserved and never-served populations. We will focus, even more intensely, on bringing social justice and equity for people of color into the conversation and on making sure that diverse voices are informing decisions and policy. We’ll continue to advance credentials that honor your efforts to develop deep knowledge in your professional specializations and meet the needs of your clients in informed, culturallyresponsive ways. Being prepared to serve stakeholders and clients in virtual spaces will continue to grow in importance over the coming year, and we will seek to offer resources that help counselors be prepared and credentials that bring recognition for that preparation.
You are giving it your all, and our communities need you. At NBCC and Affiliates, we believe that counselors are vital to healing, and as counselors, we know that covering the problems up or moving forward without eradicating the systemic barriers won’t lead us to real solutions or progress. We also have hope that we can learn, grow, andinitiate change in our country together. 2021 will be a year of transformation—not easy, but necessary—and we will be here for you through all of it.