I am almost certain that you and your college kid know all about food services, residence life, and health services. I would be willing to bet that you know very little about campus counseling and psychological services. Because the need can come on fast, it is important to know some things about those services before your kid requires them.
What all parents should know about college counseling services:
1) How to reach them
This could be just a phone number, but centers are increasing their use of text- and web-based services. Have her save all of those in her smartphone. She should also know where the services are located.
2) How to contact them after hours
Because college kids live a lot of their lives after hours, there should be at least one way to reach the services after the office is closed. This information should be saved in her smartphone as well. It’s also not a bad idea to test it out once.
3) What services cost
Some colleges can provide services at very low or no cost. Some colleges will work with your insurance. Still others will provide a limited number of sessions for free before charging a fee. It is important to know these costs and budget for them should the need arise.
4) If there are usage limits
Not all colleges can offer unlimited services to all of their students. Some colleges utilize waiting lists or put limits on the number of times a student can be seen. Know these ahead of time and have a back-up plan in case the services are not adequate to the situation.
Don’t let your kid be like the ones looking for this in the midst of an emergency. Have her invest some time right now gathering it and saving it in her phone so that it’s handy before things go awry.
Shane G. Owens, Ph.D., ABPP is an authority on college mental health practice and policy, including college readiness and behavioral risk management. As a college administrator and in private practice, he works primarily with adolescents and emerging adults. He is a board-certified behavioral and cognitive psychologist.
Follow Dr. Owens on Twitter: @drshaneowens
For more helpful information, visit: drshaneowens.com