Mental Health Tips for You and Your College Bound Teenager

After your busy or fun-packed summer, are you preparing to send your son or daughter off to college?

As exciting as this life change is, the transition from home to university involves many small and large adjustments–not least of which is the fact that your child will now be living away from home. 

While you plan your drive or flight to campus, it’s also crucial to pre-plan in case a mental health problem or crisis emerges when your child is away at school.

Here are a 6 tips, courtesy of the National Council for Behavioral Health and Mental Health First Aid:

- Insurance coverage: Know the ins and outs of your insurance plan and coverage; how it relates to mental health and treatment options. What student health insurance options are available through the college? What are the out-of-network benefits provided by your insurance plan?

- On-campus resources and services: Call the counseling center on campus to ask about the kind of coverage, professional staff and the range of services available.

- College leave of absence policies: Familiarize yourself with the college’s code of conduct and leave of absence policies in case such measures must be taken.

- Signs of mental health issues: Learn about the signs and symptoms of mental health problems and how to connect your child to care if necessary. Take a course in Mental Health First Aid.  If you live in greater Boston, including the Merrimack Valley, we offer Mental Health First Aid Training.

- Talk to your child: Engage your child in a conversation about mental health and how it relates to their experience as a college student. Involve them in all these tips.

- Communicate your love and support: Most important – let them know they’re not alone.

Tips like those provided here may help ease the process, but expressing your unconditional and steady love is the most important thing you can provide your child.

Other resources for you:

Everything parents should know about college mental health:

Mental Health America, including screening tools

National Institute on Drug Abuse information for young adults and college-age students and mental health

Photo by Alex Jones on Unsplash


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