How to Help Your Young Adult Find Psychiatric Resources in College

  • Posted at Nov 11, 2013
  • Written by yellowbrick

College students and stress go hand-in-hand. From late-night cram sessions and the anxiety of mastering mid-term exams to peer-pressured parties with the temptation of drinking and drugs, young adults face a wide range of factors that can negatively affect mental wellness. Help your young adult by encouraging them to seek psychiatric resources on campus.

Finding the right resources

Universities, and most colleges, have programs in place to support students with health concerns, including mental health problems. These programs are often known as Counseling and Psychological Services, but may go by a different moniker at your son or daughter’s school. As a parent, unfamiliar with what the institution has to offer, learn about student services by visiting the campus website or using your favorite online search engine. Call and question the college to determine what resources they can offer to help your young adult. Get connected with programs, discuss your concerns, and learn about their approaches to both diagnosing problems and treating them.

Take the time to do the research before bringing this up to your college student. It can be helpful to know about specific student services, like a counseling center, campus psychiatrist, support group, mentoring program, special needs office, or medical facility, to your young adult when you suspect they need some help. Like any medical problem, the ultimate decision about what treatment is appropriate will be made between your college student and their mental health provider.

If the campus does not directly offer services that meet the psychiatric needs of your student, they will more than likely be able to make recommendations and referrals to agencies within the community.  By locating a quality mental health program geared toward the concerns of young adults, like Yellowbrick’s Consultation and Treatment Center, students may have positive outcomes their personal and academic life.

Talk to a doctor

Keep in mind that mental health issues are first, and foremost, health concerns. So, recommend that your student to start with a trip to the doctor. A physician may diagnose and treat a medical problem that is presenting with psychological symptoms.

“Mental health struggles are medical problems. Counseling services should have you see a physician.  If your school does not have a counseling center, you can tell your primary care provider about the struggles you are having,” suggests David V. Hamilton, MD, an Associate Medical Director at the Center for Clinical Neuroscience at Yellowbrick.

Keeping problems private

Worry of exposing their personal problems to parents, professors, and pals is often a deterrent when college students consider seeking psychiatric help. Reassure your young adult’s privacy by talking about confidentiality. Begin by explaining that any conversation with a mental health professional is protected by HIPAA law. Only a few exceptions, like a risk of harming oneself or an intention to harm others, can legally be shared with parents or figures of authority.  Otherwise, your student can feel comfortable talking about almost anything, knowing their problems professed will remain private. Different universities and colleges may have differing policies regarding confidentiality, so encourage your college student to have a frank discussion about the rules of confidentiality at their school one of the priorities of their first visit with Counseling and Psychological Services.

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