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College Student Depression: A Guide for Parents

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There is a mental heal issue on college campuses. More and more college students are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, lonely, or sad. Many college students even consider suicide, and often college students are medicated for mental health issues. All of this is occurring on small and large campuses, at public universities and at selective private colleges.

There has been some research as to why this is happening. One reason is students are expected to do more and more for success both culturally and by parents. Students feel they have to take engineering or premed. They fell they must play sports, volunteer, work, find internships, and play sports. And, they may not even be interested in any of what they are doing.

Over parenting is also occurring. Although students are away on college campuses, many of them are expected to call home with information and updates. And, college students expect to call home for advice and answers when they are experiencing a problem. Parents are willing to play this role because they are afraid their child will be hurt or unsafe. They are also used to talking for their children, paying their bills, reminding them of obligations, and solving their problems for them.

Now those “children” are in college and are often in shock finding new personalities like a difficult roommate and dealing with different expectations from their professors. If they have been over parented, they lack the emotional freedom to fend for themselves. They may also feel vulnerable, less open to taking risks, and unable to cope with failure.

If you are a parent of a college student, remember now is the time for students to begin to differentiate from their parents. They are becoming adults and need to develop skills for doing so. They need to be self-reliant and be able to set their own goals. They may also need to learn to cope with failures.

What should you do? Here’s is the golden rule: Listen and don’t tell. Be there for a college students, but only in the background with counsel, and not advice.