Due to advancements in mental health and campus resources, more students with diagnosed mental health conditions are attending college than ever before. WIth support, and of course lots of planning, these students can experience college and thrive right alongside their peers. As the parent of a child with a diagnosed condition, it's important that you and your student plan carefully to transfer care and ensure the proper support system is in place on campus. Here are some tools and information to help with that process.
Review your resources
All colleges have a disability center on campus. Enroll in disability services. This could be help in the form of more time for testing, testing in a different room because of anxiety issues, etc. Once your child is enrolled, contact counselors on campus and meet with them prior to school starting. Make your child a familiar face.
Sign a disclosure
Once teenagers legally become adults, which in most states happens at age 18, they, not their parents, assume control over decisions about therapy and medication. If trouble arises, parents may or may not hear about it because college counselors are bound by confidentiality when dealing with adult students. For parents to obtain information regarding their adult child, the child needs to sign a disclosure form. This will allow you to be in the loop even if you’re far away.
Create a schedule. This could be as simple as a text message that says “taken” when your child has taken his or her medication. A photo of the empty pill box could work just as well. Get creative with it. The same can apply for therapy. Hold them accountable. You can also have the therapist or doctor contact you in the event that your child misses a session.
Discuss what option is best between you and your child. If you know that they need to be alone and have privacy, consider a single dorm or an off campus apartment for more seclusion. On the other hand, if they fear isolation or enjoy being around other students, a typical dorm with roommates would be best.
It’s your child's choice whether they want to disclose their personal medical history to friends, RAs, or professors. Whether they are comfortable sharing this information with others depends on their view of their mental health issues. Telling roommates about mental health issues is wise. This way, if anything were to happen to your child, the roomates can contact you faster than the school.