When Your HS Grad Becomes a College Student, Be Mindful of Mind Changes

Families across the nation are attending high school graduations, and many of those families are simultaneously preparing to send their graduate on to college.

It's an exciting time, but once the first college semester comes around it's also a time for parents, caregivers and other family members to be mindful of their college student's mental health. Anxiety, anger, depression and the trauma of a rigorous academic schedule can all threaten the mental well-being of college students.

Identifying your college student's struggles may not be easy. He or she may not be living at home (limiting your powers of observation), and you may miss signals of distress by simply chalking them up to normal changes. Still, if you see things like those listed below, you may want to explore further:

* Daily functioning changes: eating, sleeping (more or less), abuse of drugs and/or alcohol, irritability, loss of concentration, fatigue.

* Social changes: social isolation, poor grades, questionable content on social media, unwillingness to go to class or campus, loss of interest in things that were once interesting, sadness, nervousness.

It's important to remember that you should expect change; however, when the degree, the combination, and/or the types of changes seem "off," it may well be time to offer support to your college student and work with him/her to seek the appropriate help. Most campuses offer support services, and your college student will quickly see that he or she is not alone!

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Clifford Beers
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