As a parent, it can be painful to know that your child is experiencing difficulty, especially if you are hundreds or thousands of miles away. However, parents can provide incredible support from a distance and can play a key role in helping to connect their son or daughter with the services they need. Research tells us that, when students experience problems, they are most likely to reach out to family and friends first. In fact, they are about three times more likely to talk to a parent than to seek help from a college counseling center or other professional resource. You are in a position to help.
If you become concerned about your son or daughter’s wellbeing, the first step is to express your concerns in an honest and non-judgmental way. You can discuss the resources available with your child and encourage him or her to connect to the support services at Clark University. If you are still concerned that your child may be at risk and want to alert Clark University staff to what is happening, you may contact the Dean of Students office at (508)793-7423 or the Center for Counseling and Personal Growth (CPG) at (508)793-7678. While there are legal limits to what information we are able to disclose to you, we take your concerns seriously and want to partner with you in support of your son or daughter.
“You are the first and best judge of your child’s mental health…That is why your child needs you to be paying attention. Far too many kids in psychological pain don’t reach out, and even those who do, wait too long. College counselors repeatedly tell me that the saddest thing they see each year is that many students have suffered for months before seeking help. These kids have symptoms, but they’re vague and hard to explain — they’re not sleeping, can’t concentrate, eat too much or too little — and they don’t associate them with either a medical or psychological program. They need someone who has known them all their life, and with whom they have regular contact to ask, notice, and know what the symptoms mean. They need you.”
—College of the Overwhelmed: The Campus Mental Health Crisis and What to do About It, by Richard Kadison and Theresa Foy DiGeronimo, 2005
Important Information for Parents to Know about the Center for Counseling and Personal Growth:
The Clark University Center for Counseling and Personal Growth (CPG) is staffed by experienced, licensed mental health practitioners (as well as practitioners in training) who are best considered as specialists in the field of working with college-aged students. CPG provides mental health services such as individual and group psychotherapy as a free service for the undergraduate and graduate students of the Clark community.
Additional Resources for Parents
- The JED Foundation [PDF] — Protecting Your Child’s Mental Health: What Can Parents Do?
- College Parents Central
- Transitioning from High School to College with a Psychiatric Diagnosis — Preparation
- What Do I Do if My College Student is Homesick?
- National Eating Disorders Association — Parent Toolkit
- The Effects of ‘Helicopter Parenting’
- How to Deal with College Students When They Come Home for the Summer
- How to Raise an Adult, by Julie Lythcott Haims, 2015.
- College of the Overwhelmed: The Campus Mental Health Crisis and What To Do About It, by Richard Kadison, M.D., and Theresa Foy DiGeronimo, 2005.
- Letting Go (Fifth Edition): A Parents’ Guide to Understanding the College Years, by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger, 2009.
- You’re On Your Own (But I’m Here if you Need Me): Mentoring Your Child During the College Years, by Marjorie Savage, 2009.
- When Your Kid Goes to College: A Parent’s Survival Guide, by Carol Barkin, 1999.
- Chicken Soup for the Soul: Empty Nesters: 101 Stories about Surviving and Thriving When the Kids Leave Home, by Jack Canfield, et al, 2008.
- Don’t Tell Me What to Do, Just Send Money: The Essential Parenting Guide to the College Years, by Helen Johnson and Christine Schelhas-Miller, 2011.
- I Am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help! How to Help Someone with Mental Illness Accept Treatment, by Xavier Amador, 2011.