What to Do When Your Student is Struggling
Having a bad day is normal. It happens to everyone. Having a string of bad days in which one can’t sleep, eat, keep up with school work or find enjoyment could be the sign of a larger problem.
"Check Yourself" is The Jed Foundation’s anonymous mental health screening tool developed by Duke University Medical Center. It helps students be proactive about their emotional health and directs them to resources on campus. For more information, go to http://www.ulifeline.org.
If you sense your student is struggling, let them know you are interested and concerned about their welfare. Ask your child if they know what could be contributing to their problems. The goal is not to pry into your child’s personal life but to confront their difficulties in a constructive fashion and encourage them to take appropriate action.
Teaching Your Child How To Ask For Help
If your child is open to talking to you, listen attentively, show genuine concern and try to avoid judgmental responses. If your student is reluctant to talk, or dismisses your concerns, acknowledge their comments while also making the point that help is available: "I am glad you feel that you have the situation under control. Sometimes, however, things can pile up and seem pretty overwhelming. It can be a tremendous relief to have an objective person help you sort out your problems. That’s why many students take advantage of the counseling center on campus."
Stigma and Help Seeking
Students who get counseling have higher graduation rates than those who do not.
Stigma can be a big factor in help seeking. A recent by The Jed Foundation shows some parents are concerned that other people would avoid their children if it were known they had a mental health problem, but less than 5% of all parents would want their children to avoid a friend with a mental health problem.
Be mindful — and remind your child — that seeking counseling is actually seen as a sign of strength, not weakness.
Direct your child to www.HalfofUs.com, where they can watch video clips of other college students who have successfully confronted their own mental health issues.
Students express far less discomfort in telling others about their troubles than many parents realize.
A survey conducted by The Jed Foundation with mtvu shows that more than 75% of students would turn to a friend if they were struggling and 63% would turn to their family in emotional distress.
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