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College Students and Mental Health – How Parents Can Support

  • Posted at Mar 8, 2023
  • Written by Rebecca
College Students and Mental Health – How Parents Can Support

The period of a person’s life in which they transition from home to adulthood can be very overwhelming. For many young people, choosing to go to college is an exciting time. However, it can also come with many emotions that can impact mental and emotional health and well-being. During this very important and transitioning period of time, it’s essential that young adults have people who love them, like their parents, and support them in any way possible. So, if you’re a parent of a young adult who is of college age and you’ve noticed that they’re struggling, you may be wondering if there is anything you can do to support them.

The Young Adult’s Experience With Applying for College

Young adults may have a different experience with applying for college and sorting out what they want to do after they finish high school. But, in any circumstance, it can be overwhelming. Some young adults may not know if they want to go to college or attend a trade school, may feel pressured to apply and get into larger universities, or struggle with how they’re going to afford higher education financially. There are also deadlines for applying for college that can become stressful as they include taking time and effort to write essays and fill out paperwork. Not to mention, it can be overwhelming to hear about friends and classmates making their plans or getting accepted to their schools of choice when a young adult hasn’t made all of these decisions yet. In any case, moving forward as a young adult after high school can be overwhelming and even negatively impact mental or emotional health.

So, how can parents help support their young adults who are going through the college application and decision process?

Put Your Support Ahead of Your Expectations

It’s already stressful enough for young adults during this time of transition as they put their own expectations for themselves and their futures. So, it can be helpful for parents to understand that, even though they may have their own expectations for their child’s future, they should put these aside and instead focus on their support. Remember, your child is more than what they decide to do when it comes to their future – they are human beings who may be burdened by the expectations of their family. Therefore, during this period of big decisions, keep in mind that your child is going through more than just this decision-making process. They are also maintaining relationships, going to class, keeping up with extracurricular activities, and more. When we remind ourselves as parents that our children have their presents as well as their future, it can be easier to provide the support they need to make upcoming decisions about what they want to do with their lives.

Practice Patience So They Can Practice it Too

It’s not easy to wait for colleges to respond to applications. Especially, when friends and classmates may have already heard back and made their future college decisions finalized. As parents, it can also be difficult to wait. But, it is important that parents stay patient during these times in order to model this patience to their young adult children. Kids who are waiting to hear back from colleges are under stress and anxiously awaiting the call to let them know which way their lives will go. So, they are already pressured enough during this time. As parents, when we show patience ourselves and let our children know there is nothing else to do but wait, our children will feel more comfort in the fact that they should be ok with waiting. Again, young adults have enough stress and anxiety waiting during this time – parents should be cautious in not adding to these stressors by being mindful of what they say or do around their young adult children.

Help for College Students and Mental Health

Many young adults are challenged by the thought of what they should do in their future. Not every child wants to go to college or knows what they want to do with their lives. Especially, young adults who may struggle with mental health issues like trauma, personality disorders, etc. For these young adults, while parental support is important, it may not be enough. That’s where mental health services for young adults at Yellowbrick come in. Here at Yellowbrick, we help young adults work to achieve their goals and set plans for their future that are attainable as well as help them to develop skill sets that are helpful to prepare them for their future. Find out more about our young adult programs from our website.

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