Having your child leave home to attend college can be a big adjustment for both you and your student. It is a time when your student is starting to make his/her own decisions, is learning what it is like to be independent, and is also understanding the power and consequence of making his/her own decisions. College can be a fun, exciting, and wonderful experience, but it can also be challenging, overwhelming, and stressful for your student. As parents and family members, it can be hard to see your student struggle because you care and worry about them and want to see them succeed and be happy. If you are concerned for your student or feel as though he/she is struggling, please do not hesitate to call 974-HELP. We welcome and appreciate communication from parents and family members, as we also want to see your student succeed and have the support they need. We will work with your student to connect him/her to the appropriate resources that will best address your student’s needs.
Important Information to Know:
FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act):
Protects student’s privacy and education records, which means that as a university we are limited, by law, on what information we are allowed to share with you or family members about your student. Please note that “Postsecondary institutions may disclose personally identifiable information from education records, without consent, to appropriate parties, including parents of an eligible student, in connection with a health or safety emergency¹.”
We encourage students to communicate and involve their family as much as possible, but ultimately it is the student’s decision.
Hospitalization:If your student is transported to a hospital for either a medical or mental health reason, it is up to him/her to reach out to you or a family member. Your student can give the hospital or the university permission to talk with you or a family member but if he/she chooses not to, we will be limited in our ability to contact you.
How Do You Know When a Student is Struggling?
Here are some signs that a student may be “distressed” or struggling:
- Missing assignments, homework, and tests
- Numerous or excessive absences
- Disruptive behavior in class or behavior changes
- Performance changes (involved to detached behavior in class, passing to failing grades, calm or quiet to verbal or irritable demeanor)
Behavioral or Emotional Challenges and Changes:
- Isolating self from others
- Withdrawing from friends or social events/commitments
- Increased irritability or anger
- Tearfulness or becoming easily upset
- Changes in sleep (not sleeping at all or sleeping all the time)
- Changes in eating (not eating at all or eating non-stop)
- Increased drinking or drug use that is interfering with ability to complete daily tasks
- Bizarre changes in behavior (irrational thinking, euphoric thinking or behavior, hearing things or seeing things that are not there)
- Disruptive behavior (aggressive, argumentative, irrational)
- Anxiety or depression that keeps student from completing daily tasks such as going to class, eating, sleeping, socializing, and connecting to others
- Incoherent speech (not able to understand or follow)
- A “not caring” attitude toward life, grades, friends, family, etc
Physical Characteristic Changes:
- Decline or change in hygiene
- Not showering
- Wearing same or dirty clothes
- Not caring about appearance (not shaving, brushing hair, or applying makeup as before)
Students Who May Need Immediate Assistance:
- Exhibits self-harming behaviors (cutting, burning, scarring)
- Has suicidal thoughts or attempt (wanting to take own life or thinking everyone would be better if gone, has attempted to harm self)
- Has thoughts of harming others (direct or indirect)
- Is involved in an unhealthy relationship (emotionally, physically or sexually abusive)
- Displays stalking behaviors (overly focused behavior on an individual; following student physically or via social media; excessively contacting student when told not to do so; constant need or desire to approach student; giving unwanted gifts to student;)
- A student who has been sexually assaulted or who is experiencing domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking
What You Can Do:
- If your student’s behavior is an imminent threat to him/herself or others (direct plan to harm self or others or cannot be left unsupervised due to behavior) CALL 911
- If there is no immediate threat, but you are concerned for your student’s well-being and safety call 974-HELP (4357)
- We keep the identity of those who call 974-Help anonymous to the student unless you express that you want the student to know that you reached out to us. Please know that sometimes students only tell a few people what they are struggling with, so they may be able to figure out on their own who called to report a concern.
- Once we meet with a student we may be limited in our ability to share information due to FERPA regulations.