Parents Play an Important Role in Adjustment to College
The primary objective of the Counseling Center is to help students with personal, emotional and adjustment problems so that they can be successful in college. We believe that you, the parents, play an extremely important role in helping meet that objective. Adjustment problems are common and expected experience for most students, particularly for freshmen or transfer students. Parents are usually the first to notice changes in their student's behavior, attitudes, or emotional stability that might indicate a problem. Talk to your student about your concerns. Let your student know that emotional adjustment problems are common among college students and that the Counseling Center may be able to help.
A lot of changes occur during the late teen and early adult years. Most are normal developmental challenges, such as identity formation, career decision making, relationships development, and lifestyle adjustment. These issues may respond well to short term counseling/therapy. On the other hand, students of this age group are at significant risk of developing a number of serious mental health problems, many of which require psychiatric care and long-term counseling/therapy. College may not be a safe or appropriate atmosphere for some when this occurs. College is a deceptively stressful environment with many demands and requires a great deal of autonomy.
NAMI- National Alliance on Mental Illness is a good resource for parents to start the conversation about college with their children. NAMI is an educational source for parents wanting to know more information about Mental Health and how college plays a big role in that stage of their lives. Starting the conversation at first can be hard but with the help of licensed Psychologist and Professional Counselors, it's possible to get through it together.
Scope of Services
Counseling Center services are intended primarily to help students with short-term emotional/adjustment problems rather than long-term or intensive psychiatric problems. If your student has been previously hospitalized or has (or develops) a serious long-term mental illness or emotional problem where on-going psychotherapy treatment is recommended, our services will not be an appropriate substitute for those services. (Examples of problems that require services beyond what we can provide include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe eating disorders, severe PTSD, severe depression, chronic suicidal ideation, chemical dependency, etc.) Also, there are specialty areas in which our staff are not specially trained and maybe beyond the scope of our services. (Please see Scope of Service section or call for more information if needed).
We work from short-term counseling/therapy models with a limited number of sessions. This type of counseling fits the vast majority of students who come in for counseling. If longer-term or specialty services are needed, we will be happy to help with referrals for private mental health care in the local area. If you are unsure if the Counseling Center's services would be appropriate for your student, please call or have your student call and talk with one of our professional staff about your student's situation.
Referring A Student for Counseling
The best way to refer the student for counseling is to encourage them to come by or call (940-565-2741) the Counseling Center to make an initial consultation appointment. Initial consultation appointments are available daily or within a short period of time, though calling for an appointment or to let us know your coming helps in scheduling the appointment. During the initial consultation, the student will meet with a staff counselor to determine how the Counseling Center can best meet the student's needs. Following the initial consultation, the student will be assigned to a counselor for counseling appointments as necessary or referred to a more appropriate resource. All participation at the counseling center is voluntary, and due to HIPPA we are unable to contact students, the student must call themselves. If you feel that your student needs counseling and you believe that they will not call on their own you can contact the Dean of Students and they can assist you further.
Costs of our service: There is no additional cost for our Counseling Services to Currently Enrolled Students
All counseling services provided to students in the Counseling Center are supported by the student service fees that were paid during registration. There are no additional charges for counseling. If there is a referral for a medication evaluation to one of the psychiatrists in the Student Health Center, there are fee's for those evaluations and follow-up visits. Also, any special services we may offer may require a minimal fee, i.e. QuitSmart smoking cessation program.
A Note About Confidentiality
If the student is a client of the Counseling Center, federal and state law prohibits us from acknowledging that the student is a client or discussing his or her case in any way without specific written permission from the student. This law applies whether or not you have referred the student to us or have discussed the student's situation with us before he or she becomes a client. If you wish to follow-up with us after referring or discussing the student, please encourage the student to sign a written Release of Information Form authorizing his or her counselor to release information to you when he or she comes for counseling.
Important Campus Contacts
Tips for Recognizing Students in Distress
At one time or another everyone feels upset or distressed. However, there are three levels of student distress which, when present over a period of time, suggest that the problems are more than the "normal" ones.
- Changes in academic performance in the classroom
- A significant drop in examination scores
- Change in pattern of interaction
- Changes in physical appearance
- Problems concentrating and remembering things or making decisions
- Repeated request for special consideration
- New or regularly occurring behavior which pushes the limits and may interfere with class
- Management or be disruptive to other students, faculty or staff
- Unusual or exaggerated emotional responses
- Persistent sadness or unexplained crying
- High levels of irritability or inappropriate excitement
- Highly disturbed behavior
- Outbursts of anger
- Inability to communicate clearly
- Irrational conversation or speech that seems disconnected
- Loss of contact with reality (seeing/hearing things that are not there, beliefs or actions at odds with reality)
- Suspiciousness, irrational feelings of persecution
- Statements related to death or dying or feelings of hopelessness
- Threats of harming self or harming others