Resources for Parents
The Internet Resources section on the Resources for Wellness and Mental Health page has a wealth of information on mental health issues that students face (e.g., depression, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, etc.). In addition to mental health topics, The Unabridged Student Counseling Virtual Pamphlet Collection provides information about developmental and academic issues that university students face (e.g., coping with a break up, test-taking anxiety, study habits, time management, cultural adjustment). Though the majority of these virtual pamphlets are written for students, those in a supportive role will find them helpful as they seek to better understand students' experiences in order to provide appropriate assistance. The website HelpGuide.org is another good source of information on wellness-related topics (e.g., stress management, tips to improve sleep, effective communication) that are appropriate for students and parents.
Articles for Parents of College Students:
- College Student Development: The Journey from Freshman to Graduation (University of Central Florida)
- 20 Tips for the Families of All Students (University of Florida)
- Tips for Helping Parents (University of Central Florida)
- Eight Rules for Parents (Binghamton University - State University of New York)
- Effective Listening / Helping Skills (University of South Florida)
- What Can Parents Do To Best Support A Child’s College Experience (Screening for Mental Health, Inc.)
When your Child is in Distress: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers
Many college students encounter academic, personal, and social stress during their educational experience. Most students cope successfully with the demands of college life and the interpersonal experiences that go along with it, but for some students these difficulties can become overpowering and unmanageable.
Parents and caregivers are frequently in a position to identify when their daughter or son is in distress. Moreover, parents and caregivers are often perceived as a first point of contact in obtaining advice and support. Your expression of interest and concern may be critical in helping your son or daughter reestablish emotional equilibrium.
This guide is designed to assist you in helping your loved ones identify they are in emotional distress. Counseling & Testing Center staff members are available to offer further consultation.
How Can You Tell if your Son or Daughter is Distressed?
At one time or another, everyone feels upset. However, when some of the following are present, your son or daughter is probably in distress:
- Noticeable decline in quality of school performance.
- Prolonged appearance of depression (e.g., sad expression, apathy, tearfulness, distractibility, sudden weight loss or gain).
- Nervousness, agitation, irritability, aggressiveness, non-stop talking.
- Bizarre behavior or speech.
- Extreme dependency on family, including exceptionally long/distressing phone calls or visits home.
- Marked change in personal hygiene
- Talk of suicide, either directly or indirectly.
- Comments in a student's letters or emails home that arouse concern.
Any one of the above signs present in someone does not absolutely indicate serious distress. Many disturbances during college are relatively transient. However, you may become alarmed by changes which are extreme or by significant changes that last longer than is typical. If there is doubt about the seriousness of the problem, consult a Counseling & Testing Center professional staff member about evaluating the situation and taking the most appropriate steps. A counselor can help you explore how to approach the interaction with the student, assist you in identifying campus and community resources that might fit his/her needs, and provide coaching on how to make a referral. Counselors are available during business hours for phone or in person consultations at the CTC. You can call the front desk (269-471-3470) to schedule a phone consult or to arrange a meeting at the counselor’s office.
Self-Help Books for Parents of College Students:
- "Letting Go: A Parent's Guide to Understanding the College Years" by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger.
- "Don't Tell Me What to Do, Just Send Money: The Essential Parenting Guide to the College Years" by Helen E. Johnson and Christine Schelhas-Miller.
Additional Campus and Community Resources to Consider:
Campus Safety: 269-471-3321
University Student Intervention Team (USIT): 269-471-3321; firstname.lastname@example.org
Dean for Student Life: 269-471-3215
Student Success Center: 269-471-6096
University Medical Specialties: 269-473-2222
Berrien County Victim Assistance: 269-982-8640
Neighbor to Neighbor (Adventist Community Services): 269-471-7411
Riverwood Center’s 24 Hour Crisis Hotline: 800-336-0341