College is an exciting time of exploration for most students. Meeting new people, choosing a major, and making career plans is an important part of your emerging adult’s development, but these milestones can also cause a great deal of stress and anxiety. It’s natural to want to support your student through difficult times. Following are some tips to consider when your student may need some assistance navigating the challenges of college.
The university created wellness.illinois.edu to help you decide what kind of assistance is needed and how to get connected to services for mental health, wellness, access, and accommodation. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign strives to provide supportive, judgment-free, and collaborative solutions specific to individuals and groups.
Become familiar with resources.
Illinois has several offices designed to assist students with difficulties they may encounter as a student. For mental health challenges, there are several options available.
- The Counseling Center offers same-day appointments so that students can be seen when their need is the most urgent. We offer time-limited individual and couples counseling and longer-term group counseling for students seeking support for ongoing issues. We suggest calling 217-333-3704 for an appointment at 7:50 a.m. when our lines open because appointments can fill quickly. If a student is having a mental health emergency, they can always come in to be seen right away, but if possible, we request you call and let us know you’re on the way.
- McKinley Mental Health unit offers the option of scheduling in advance with a staff of mental health professionals and has psychiatrists available to oversee medication management.
- Parents also may encourage their students to be in touch with Emergency Deans at the Student Assistance Center who help support students in crisis and connect them with resources.
- In addition to assisting with obtaining necessary accommodation, Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) provides mental health counseling for students who have registered with their office.
Suggest strong self-care habits. College is often the first time many students are on their own and are able to determine for themselves what they eat, how they spend their time, and what they do to support their overall wellness. Sleep, nutrition, and activity all have a significant impact on mental health, so check in regularly to make sure your students are taking care of themselves.
Encourage Resilience and Self-Sufficiency. When parents see their children struggling, it’s a common reaction to want to remove obstacles for your child. But stepping back and encouraging your student to confront issues they are facing and determine what steps they should take allows them to hone their problem-solving skills and become more confident and empowered.
Be mindful that different levels of care may be necessary. The Center for Collegiate Mental Health reports that more students are entering college with complex mental health conditions than in the past. Greater acceptance and understanding of mental illness as well as more effective treatments have made it possible for many students to leave home for college. However, most college mental health facilities are designed to assist students with common stress associated with college and refer students in need of long-term care to community providers. If your child is coming to college with a history of mental health issues, it’s wise to have a support network in place beyond the university to ensure your child has access to the support they will need.
The Illinois Counseling Center is always happy to consult with parents seeking advice. If you would like to speak with someone, please call 217-333-3704.