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Preparing Your Child For College: Why Talking About Mental Health Is Imperative

Has your child been selected for their dream college? If yes, you certainly feel excited and obliged to arrange everything from books to supplies to the required documents. However, this is may not enough preparation for your child to proceed to the next chapter.

Transitioning from high school to college is challenging and overwhelming for you and your teenage student. This is because of the unexpected changes, pressure, and newfound freedom in college and this transition can significantly impact a child's mental health and wellness.

According to an American College Health Association Survey, 40% of college students reported that they experienced depression, and 61% experienced overwhelming anxiety. Increased depression and anxiety can lead to poor academic performance, physical health issues, and can negatively impact relationships with family and friends.

Therefore, when preparing your child to transition to college, consider it imperative for them to take care of their mental health by making them aware of the upcoming emotional challenges in college.

Here are some ways you can help your student to prepare emotionally for college.

Help Your Child Boost Their Confidence

One of the best gifts you can give your teenage student is confidence. Confident children learn from their mistakes and get up quickly rather than being crippled by their failures. Allowing your child to make decisions independently and take healthy risks can help build their confidence and make them more resilient. Resilience refers to the ability to withstand challenging situations without giving up quickly. Confidence and resilience are both essential attributes to help your student resolve issues and problems that may arise in a quick and focused manner.

Teach Your Child Problem Solving Skills

One major change when transitioning to college is that you will not always be there to help your child make important and good decisions. Your child will start taking the steps to get out of their comfort zone and develop the ability to think for themselves.  Allow your child to solve more problems on their own, giving them guidance when it is needed. They may fail sometimes or not do things exactly how you would, but that is okay and it’s important that they know that too.

Practice Mindfulness with Your Child

Mindfulness is one of the best ways to keep your emotions in check. Mindfulness is a therapeutic technique achieved by focusing on the present moment while calmly acknowledging your thoughts and feelings without judgment. The objective of practicing mindfulness with your child is to help them develop the skills to be aware of their inner and outer selves. Mindfulness also allows them to understand their emotions and how they manifest.

Help Your Child Develop Good Self-care

Self-care involves taking care of yourself and your body by developing habits that promote your best mood. According to experts, self-care includes maintaining sleep hygiene, healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and limiting substance and alcohol use. These habits help to regulate your difficult emotions.  Most teenagers often sacrifice self-care while transitioning to college in their first year. Therefore, it is essential to teach your child self-care to keep their mental and physical health in check. This reduces the risks of developing difficult emotions that may become so intense and overwhelming.

According to Bridget DeFiccio, LPC and Senior Vice President of Integrated Health with Acenda Integrated Health, “using some or all of these skills can be beneficial in helping youth as they transition from High School into College. This is an exciting time and the more resources youth have, the better their college experience will be for them. Also, be sure your student knows what campus resources are available to them. Most colleges and universities have counseling and peer support programs available. Don't wait until you need one to know what is offered by your school.”

If you or a loved one are experiencing struggles with mental health, clinicians in our Counseling & Wellness Centers are here to help. Whether it's simply a helping hand or lifelong support, Acenda seeks to empower individuals of all ages to thrive and explore their greatest potential.

Call our main number at 844-4-ACENDA (844-422-3632 X9500) for more information or to schedule an appointment.