Resources for Parents
Resources for Parents
As parents and guardians, you continue to play a vital role in the lives of your college-aged children. You probably know your son or daughter better than anyone else and are more likely to notice changes in mood or behavior that may be signs of distress. Since students tend to turn to their parents when it comes to making important decisions, your suggestions regarding reaching out to resources for assistance can be very influential. The following information describes signs that can be indications of distress, suggestions on how to respond effectively when your student approaches you with problems, how to make an effective referral and information about CAPS as an important resource on campus.
Changes in Academic Performance
Decline in academic performance
Excessive absences from class
Confusion or uncertainty about interest, abilities or values
Listlessness, lack of energy, complaints about fatigue
Marked changes in personal hygiene
Impaired speech or disjointed, confused thoughts
Aggressive or threatening behavior
Extreme mood changes or inappropriate displays of emotion
Dramatic weight loss or gain
Preoccupation with food or body image
Bizarre behavior indicating a loss of contact with reality
Changes in Relationships
Death of a family member or close friend
Difficulties in romantic relationships
Problems with family members, friends or roommates
Becoming too dependent on one relationship at the expense of previously important connections with others
References to Suicide
Overt references to suicide
Statements of hopelessness or helplessness
Indications of prolonged unhappiness
Pessimism about the future
Talk to your student as soon as you notice something unusual, don’t ignore atypical or disturbing behavior.
Express your concern in a caring manner and indicate the specific behaviors that are causing you to be concerned.
Use “I” language that focuses on what you have noticed or what you are feeling.
Talk to your student in private when you both have enough time for a conversation.
Listen attentively and avoid being critical or judgmental.
Encourage positive action by helping your student define the problem and possible ways of handling it;
avoid the temptation to solve the problem for them.
Ask directly how you can best help.
Know your limits as a helper. Parents can do a lot, but sometimes professional help is needed.
CAPS is a place where undergraduate and graduate students at Stevens can speak with a mental health professional about issues in a confidential setting. CAPS staff are well versed in college student mental health issues and have experience helping students with a wide range of concerns. CAPS provides free, confidential, solution-focused, short term individual and group counseling, as well as crisis services. Students may initially be hesitant about seeking counseling. Reassuring them that many students utilize our services and telling them directly and clearly why you think counseling could be helpful may encourage them to seek help.
Review information about the counseling process with students using the CAPS website. Emphasize that services are confidential and free.
Suggest that your student attend one session before judging whether counseling is helpful or not.
Point out that using appropriate resources and addressing problems rather than avoiding them is a sign of strength and maturity.
Except in cases of imminent danger to self or others, it is important to allow your son or daughter to make their own decision about counseling. Just because they don’t follow through immediately doesn’t mean that your suggestions aren’t being considered.
While it is preferable for the student to take the step of making a first appointment on their own, CAPS staff are willing to consult with you about our services and how to encourage your student to seek help.
If your student would be more comfortable seeking counseling from an off-campus provider, we can assist you with referrals.
CAPS staff are required by law and professional ethics to protect the confidentiality of all contacts with students. The only exceptions occur in cases of imminent danger to self or others, situations involving child or elder abuse or when there is a court order. Without a student’s written permission, we cannot discuss the content of counseling sessions or whether or not your student has been seen at the our center. If you think it is important for you to dialogue with your student’s counselor, please share this concern with your student and request that they sign a release of information form allowing us to share information with you. If you have questions about our services or if you would like to consult with a staff member about concerns regarding your student, please feel free to call our office.
For students who have been in treatment at home for psychological difficulties, it can be important to continue psychological and psychiatric support during the transition to college. CAPS staff can work with your family and your student’s home treatment provider to assist in a smooth and successful transition to Stevens by helping you identify appropriate treatment either on or off campus. It is important to plan for your students continued treatment before they arrive on campus.
A month or so prior to arriving on campus, discuss with the home treatment provider your student’s needs regarding continued counseling or medication at college.
Encourage your student to discuss the benefits of remaining in counseling and/or on medication through this time of transition.
Suggest your student sign a release of information form that will give the home treatment provider permission to discuss your student’s needs with Stevens CAPS.
Decide whether your student’s treatment needs are best met on or off campus. Our staff can consult with you about this decision.
Encourage your student to call and schedule an appointment to transfer their care to a new providers either on or off campus. It is helpful for the student to initiate these appointments, because they will need to take on this responsibility when they arrive on campus. We recommend that these appointments be scheduled prior to their arrival on campus to ensure continuity of care
If you think your son or daughter is in imminent danger of harming themselves or someone else, please call Stevens Campus Police 24/7 at 201-216-3911. They will respond immediately and involve CAPS as indicated.
For non-life-threatening emergencies: CAPS' hours are 9-5, M-F. During this time we have a staff member dedicated to helping students sort out mental health crisis situations.
Clinicians are also available to help a student in distress after hours, weekends and holidays and can be reached by dialing 201.216.5177 and pressing "2"
Additional after-hours resources include the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1800-273-8255) and the National Crisis Text Line which can be accessed by texting "Hello" to 741-741.
Campus Police: 201-216-5105 or 3911
Dean of Students: 201-216-5699
Student Health: 201-216-5678
Office of Disability Services: 201-216-3748
Title IX Coordinator: 201-216-5679 or 5122
The CARE Team: [email protected]
Stop, Drop and Roll (A brief guide to helping your student be an independent problem-solver; original design courtesy of Wake Forest University)
Starting the Conversation: College and Your Mental Health (essential reading for parents from JED and NAMI about navigating mental health during college)
College Parents of America (short, insightful articles that help explore many questions you may have)
College Parent Central (practical advice)
The Happiest Kid on Campus by Harlan Cohen.
Letting Go: A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years
by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger
You're On Your Own - But I'm Here If You Need Me by Marjorie Savage
The Empty Nest: 31 Parents Tell the Truth About Relationships, Love and Freedom After the Kids Fly the Coop by Karen Stabiner
College of the Overwhelmed: The Campus Mental Health Crisis and What to Do about It
by Richard Kadison, M.D. and Theresa DiGeronimo
Share one of these books with your son or daughter:
1001 Things Every College Student Needs to Know: (Like Buying Your Books Before Exams Start)
1001 Things Every Teen Should Know Before They Leave Home (Or Else They'll Come Back)
- both by Harry H. Harrison, Jr.
The Naked Roommate by Harlan Cohen