College can present unique challenges for your student.
These challenges include forming new relationships, the lack of structure and irregular sleep schedules, academic pressures, and the availability of alcohol and other substances, which can cause the onset of new, recurring, or worsening of psychological illnesses. Please talk with your student about the importance of developing a healthy balanced lifestyle that includes academics, use of a social support network, good nutrition, and a regular sleep and exercise schedule. Be sure to also discuss the risks of engaging in binge drinking or other drug use.
If your student has experienced emotional difficulties, and/or has been in treatment for psychological or mental health issues, careful planning to manage such challenges can be a key part of his or her transition to college.
For example, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and alcohol and drug abuse are all common problems that need particular consideration. Planning can begin by talking with your student and consulting with his/her current or past treatment provider (such as a therapist, psychiatrist, or family doctor).
Try to discuss the following with your student’s past treatment provider:
- Strategies to reduce the risk of relapse
- Early recognition of symptoms of recurrence and resources to seek help
- Insurance coverage with an adequate mental health plan
- Plan for ongoing treatment needs, which should include arranging appointments with the current provider in advance, timed to occur during visits home
- Plan to include a local physician who is located in or near Whittier, to follow any medication the student is taking
Here to Help
As you create a plan of support for your student, please involve Whittier College’s Student Counseling Center and Health & Wellness Center. Our offices are generally open for questions throughout the academic year.