Good Mental Health Away From Home Starts Before College

Mental Health and College

(c) My College Planning Team

The high school years are a good time to consider healthy strategies to handle stress, especially if your child is showing signs of anxiety and depression or currently is dealing with a mental health issue. With the support of family, friends and a comfortable environment, students can build a stronger foundation before starting the next chapter in their lives. It is important for children to develop confidence in asking for help, and what better time than while under the watchful eye of those who care about them?

Thousands of college-bound high students feel incredible amounts of stress. In fact, an October 2015 article in The Atlantic Monthly reported that that a recent survey found that about 50 percent of high achieving high school students are chronically stressed.

“The results aren’t surprising—between the homework required for Advanced Placement classes, sports practices, extracurricular activities like music and student government, and SAT prep, the fortunate kids who have access to these opportunities don’t have much downtime these days. These experiences can cause kids to burn out by the time they get to college, or to feel the psychological and physical effects of stress for much of their adult lives, says Marya Gwadz, a senior research scientist at the New York University College of Nursing.”

 To read the entire article, click here.

 Simple Signs that Say “Stressed”

The American Psychological Association offers signs of stress to help you identify when your child is feeling overwhelmed and might need support or help.

  1. Behavior changes including irritability, moodiness, withdrawal, crying, sleeping too much/or sleeping too little, fearfulness
  2. Feeling sick: asking to stay home from school, more frequent visits to the nurse’s office at school, frequent headaches and stomach aches
  3. Teachers, fellow parents or other adults express concern about your child’s behavior or reactions
  4. Expressing worrisome thoughts. Is your teen frequently saying they are “worried,” “confused,” “annoyed” or “angry”? Do you hear your child say “No one likes me,” “I’m stupid,” “Nothing is fun”?

Finding Resources

  • Support is available for both teens and parents. There is no shame in talking to someone. Getting help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Check with your child’s guidance counselor, your family physician, your clergy leader, the local health department or another trusted source for the names of professionals and resource centers. Licensed mental health professional can help your child develop strategies to handle stressors and offer support to parents.
  • My College Planning Team includes licensed counselors and therapist in our consortium of professionals. Our college admission coaches are aware and diligent in referring you to resources that are appropriate. Contact Stephanie Kennedy for more information.
  • The Anxiety and Depression Association of America offers several mental health related brochures that can be downloaded from your computer. Learn about everything from generalized anxiety disorder to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, anxiety, phobias and more. On this website you will find a wealth of information and podcasts.
  • For a parent guide filled with tips, ideas and resource information click here.

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