May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and as high school graduates prepare to enter college this fall, it’s important to know how to handle the stress that can come with such a big life change. A study by Inside Higher Ed/College Pulse found the top three stressors for college students were keeping up with coursework; pressure to do well in college; and concerns about money.
Whether you’re currently receiving mental health care or want to be prepared for whatever lies ahead, it’s a good idea to think about what support you may need before you find yourself in crisis.
Where to Find Mental Health Help and Advice
- The Jed Foundation offers a number of resources as part of its “Set to Go” online program. Their articles and guides offer tips for transitioning to college, managing stress, how to help a friend, and much more.
- Stay in touch or set up a transition of care plan with your existing provider(s). If you currently take medication, set up a plan to make sure you have access to refills at a local pharmacy or mail order service.
- Locate your college’s counseling center (sometimes located within its medical clinic). If there is a waitlist for services, or you feel your needs aren’t being met, ask for recommendations for another provider.
- Reach out to a resident advisor (RA) or academic advisor if you’re feeling overwhelmed. College is a difficult transition for many students, and advisors can lend a sympathetic ear or put you in touch with resources.
- Text “HOME” to 741741 to connect with the Crisis Text Line.
There are many other mental health resources available, and simply staying in touch with family and friends can help bring a touch of familiarity to a new situation.
Access for Parents
Keep in mind communication between healthcare providers and parents/guardians falls under The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry notes, “Students must give written permission for health and education information to be shared with their parents or anyone else except under certain emergency circumstances. Parents can share information with school personnel if they have a concern about their student, but they may not receive information unless their child has given permission.”