Ways to Help Your Student

Ways To Help Your Student

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Emergencies

If your student is an imminent danger to themselves or others, bypass this information and call 911 immediately.

More information about our emergency and crises support can be found here.

Consult With Us

If you are concerned about your student’s well-being, consult with Counseling and Psychological Services by calling 402.472.5000. We can walk you through how to effectively refer your student to our services and how to intervene or bring up your concerns with your student.

The following situations are some instances where a consultation may be helpful:

  • Your student suddenly feels very sad or anxious
  • Your student is not attending classes, work or typical social activities due to depression or other concerns
  • Your student is making risky decisions about alcohol and/or other drugs
  • Your student is threatening to hurt themselves or others
  • You suspect your student may have an eating disorder
  • Your student is withdrawing from community and other social support systems
  • Your student’s assignment contains disturbing content

Our staff can give you advice and discuss your concerns before your student arrives at Counseling and Psychological Services. Once your student begins counseling with us, we can receive information from you about your student, but we generally cannot reveal any information to you about your student, including whether or not your student has continued to seek services unless we have a signed release of information form from her/him. Learn more about how our privacy policies may affect you and your student.

Be a Supportive Parent

If your student exhibits a mental health concern, your support can help ensure they have a successful outcome. Here are some ways you can support your student:

  • When your student presents a concern, listen and try not to judge them
  • Let them know that you care and that you are willing to listen
  • If they are silent, being present can still be helpful
  • Be encouraging, but do not minimize their situation
  • It’s OK to share similar experiences or feelings, but do not take the spotlight
  • Do not promise secrecy in case your student shares something that you need to report in order to keep them safe, but let them know you will respect their privacy
  • Be clear that your guidance is limited and that professional help is available and may be worth considering for their concerns
  • Normalize that seeking help when needed is a positive sign
  • Ask your student if they are thinking about harming themselves if you are concerned this is something they are considering
  • Don’t be afraid to follow up to see how your student is doing

If being supportive is important to you, consider calling for a consultation as we can walk you through the above steps in greater detail.

Provide Support Proactively

Don’t wait until you notice your student has a mental health concern before providing support. Here are a few tips for proactively supporting your student.

  • Check in with your student regularly. It may be helpful to discuss with your student how often they would like you to check-in. Tell them you are interested in their life at school and what to stay updated on how they are doing but that you will be respectful of their independence as well. We suggest touching base on a weekly basis if your student is comfortable with this arrangement
  • Ask questions, but not too many. Most first-year college students want the security of knowing someone from home is still interested in their lives. Your curiosity about their school life will depend on her/his needs
  • Talk with your student about finances. It’s best to begin this conversation before your student comes to school. But if you’ve missed that deadline, it’s important to have the conversation as soon as possible. Include in this discussion who will pay for tuition, fees, books, room and board, meals, etc. It’s important to set expectations and boundaries around spending money. It’s also wise to counsel your student on the importance of having a budget and showing them how to get started with this goal
  • Be realistic about grades. Just because your student excelled academically in high school does not necessarily mean they will maintain all As and Bs at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. However, if your student appears to be struggling academically, there are campus resources that can help. Encourage your student to take advantage of these resources if they need it
  • Stay informed. Take time to learn about the resources on campus. We also encourage parents to download the Nebraska Campus Guides app and download the “guides” relevant to your student. These guides have been created by Nebraska Medicine – University Health Center, Campus Recreation, University Housing, Greek Life and more, and each has valuable information about their resources. Stay connected to the latest news by signing up for the monthly Parents Association Newsletter. If there is an entity on campus with information that is relevant to your student, follow them on social media. The health center, for example, is active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  • Don’t create unrealistic expectations for your student. Avoid telling them this will be “the best years of their lives” because it can be a time full of indecision, mistakes and insecurities as well. Be there when your student experiences the highs and lows of college and provide the support and encouragement they need