Dear Parents: Sending kids off to college is an exciting experience. Naturally, our focus is on the wonderful opportunities they will have, as we look with pride upon their promising passage into adulthood. But these stressful times require parents to also fully grasp the serious mental health challenges their students may face, and be equipped to provide support.
What do parents need to know?
Though some may hide or downplay it, rates of depression and anxiety are high among college students. Many students carry suicidal thoughts. Sexual assault is prevalent among college students. Hazing violence as an initiation rite at fraternities and some student organizations is a serious problem. All of these conditions pose greater risks for students who arrive on campus already with a mental health disorder.
College psychological counseling centers are typically overwhelmed by demands for appointments, and navigating community mental health services and insurance coverage can exacerbate the stress.
In short, student mental health can be a complicated matter, and failing to deal with it adequately can lead to serious consequences.
The Sophie Fund has updated a guide to help parents—especially those whose children are attending college in Ithaca—better understand the challenges: