Transferring Treatment to College
If your child is currently in therapy, and your child’s college is not within a reasonable driving distance to maintain regular sessions, it’s imperative your child find a new therapist either on or off-campus. Having your child’s current therapist actively involved in the process will be important to ensuring a smooth and successful transition.
If your child has a good relationship with a therapist, he or she may be uneasy about switching to a new one.
Help your child embrace this change by offering: “I know this is a big change and that it’s scary and unsettling, but there’s every reason to believe that since you had a good experience with Dr. X, you’ll be able to do it again with Dr. Y. And if you don’t click with Dr. Y, we’ll help you find someone else. No matter what, we’ll make this work.”
Have your child develop an updated safety plan with their current therapist that can be used as a template for the new one.
Concerned about your child adhering to a medication schedule? Have them text you a message, like “taken,” each time they take a dose. Text messages are time stamped.
If your child takes any type of medication, find out beforehand if there’s an on-campus pharmacy and whether it takes your insurance. If your child takes medication, and you’ve been in charge of making sure he adheres to his medication schedule, that responsibility will shift. Have your child start taking on the responsibility himself by doing a dry run over the summer. Map out a plan together, including how he will inform you that the medication has been taken on time and as prescribed.
Be sure you and your child investigate health insurance coverage and restrictions and any relevant changes. Find out:
- What types of mental health services are covered while your child is away at school?
- Are there restrictions about what type of mental health professional your child may see?
- How many mental health treatment sessions are covered annually?
- Is a referral from a primary care provider required before your child can see a mental health provider?
- What does the college’s health insurance cover, and are pre-existing conditions included in the coverage?
- Is there a deductible or co-payment?
- What happens if your child sees a provider who is “out of network?”
- Is psychiatric hospitalization covered?
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