How to Protect Your College Student’s Mental Health

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Student StudyingMillions of students prepare to set off for college each year, and there’s no better time than now to start preparing, especially if he or she is concerned about coping with mental illness while away. Taking some steps now to help mentally prepare your teen for college can help to make the transition smoother and set him or her up for success.

Familiarize Yourself With College Mental Health Services

Before sending your teen off to college, check in with the university to familiarize yourself and your teen with the mental health services available on and off campus. That way, if your teen is having mental health issues while away, he or she will already know whom to contact for help.

Stay in Touch

While parents often try to tread lightly so as not to feel like they’re smothering their newly launched college-aged kids, it’s still important to give him or her a call every once in a while just to check in. Look for signs of depression or anxiety, such as:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sadness
  • Changes in academic performance

If you suspect your college student is having mental health problems, bring up the topic in a friendly, non-threatening way.

Set Realistic Expectations

Your college student is probably already aware that there can be a lot riding on grades, but make sure he or she knows that mistakes do happen and that no one is expecting perfection. This can help to ease the stress and anxiety that often come along with trying to maintain a perfect GPA or get an A on every assignment.