The Proactive Parent
While many parents are aware of their college-bound children's vulnerabilities, whether due to past experiences with depression or a family history, others are caught by surprise when the highly stressful college separation exacerbates dormant problems.
To be sure, physical distance poses challenges. But it’s crucial for parents to find ways to keep track of changes in their child's attitude and behavior during the transition to college.
With proper planning and open communication, your student will be aware of the mental health resources available at college should he need them. And the fact is, the most important resource is you.
Studies show parents can exert an enormous amount of positive influence on their children. A study by The Jed Foundation and mtvU shows where students report they would turn for help:
After friends, parents are the most common place students will turn for help.
- 76% of students say they would turn to friends
- 63% of students say they would turn to parents
- 20% of students say they would turn to school counseling
- 18% of students say they would turn to a Resident Advisor
- 17% of students say they would turn to a crisis hotline
If you invest the time now to talk to your child about his or her hopes for college and the future, chances are, they’ll confide in you about struggles they may experience later on. Together, you can deepen your child’s resiliency and coping mechanisms, and enhance your own family’s ability to navigate life’s complex transitions.
You Need to Know
- Emotional health is a critical part of the college transition that should not be overlooked.
- Emotional issues are cited as a leading reason students struggle during college.
- Students who have skills in managing stress and taking care of their overall wellness will be better able to handle the challenges of college.
- Even with physical distance, parents have enormous influence on their children’s behavior, decisions and welfare.
- If you notice signs of a larger problem, educate yourself on the issues and the signs of emotional distress.
- If your child has a problem, address it quickly and properly.
- If you are the parent of a student with a diagnosed mental health condition, it is vital to have an active transition plan and remain vigilant so that your child can have a successful college experience.
Sources used in this article: mtvU / Jed Foundation and AP Survey
- Connecting Your Child with Mental Health Resources on Campus
- Contact Information Every Parent Should Know
- Exploring Campus Mental Health Support Systems
- Finding the Right Off-Campus Mental Health Professional
- Four Things Every Parent Must Know About Emotional Health
- If Your Child is Worried About a Friend
- Medical Leaves of Absence
- Mental Health Conditions: Privacy and Telling Others
- Preventing Suicide: Warning Signs and How to Respond
- Suicide and College Students
- The Basics: Alcohol and Drug Dependence and Abuse
- The Basics: Anxiety Disorders
- The Basics: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- The Basics: Bipolar Disorder
- The Basics: Depression
- The Basics: Eating Disorders
- The Basics: Schizophrenia
- The Basics: Self-Injury (Cutting)
- The Proactive Parent
- Three Important Guidelines for Transitioning with a Diagnosed Condition
- Transferring Treatment to College
- Types of Mental Health Professionals
- What are Mental Health Conditions?
- What to Do When Your Student is Struggling
- Who Will Struggle with Mental Illness?