After well over a year ofinof the pandemic, depression, anxiety and loneliness are on the rise — including among college students. As your family prepares for your student to go off to college, checking in with them your student about how they're feeling now and throughout their college experience can help them successfully navigate their new norm.
Here are signs and symptoms of concern that canmay help you identify any issues your student may be dealing with or could face down the road.
Potential signs of chronic loneliness
Is your student experiencing an inability to connect with others on a deeper, more intimate level? Do they have trouble finding or maintaining close friendships with people—- someone who truly "gets" them? Does your student frequently experience an overwhelming feeling of isolation regardless of where they are and who’s around? Do they often have long-term and negative feelings of self-doubt and self-worth? Do they express the opinionFeeling like that they are never enough? Does your student experience exhaustion and burnout when trying to engage socially?
Potential signs of anxiety
Does your student feel overwhelmed, worried or have panic attacks? Are they irritable, or do they have trouble concentrating? Do they experience frequent upset stomach, dizziness or sweat abnormally?
Potential signs of depression
Does your student no longer enjoy doing things they used to do? Have they been staying in bed more often? Has their appetite changed? Do they seem sad or hopeless? Have they been missing classes (resulting in their grades suffering) or other engagements?
How to help
Talk to your student about making an appointment with a health professional and your willingness to make one on their behalf. Many colleges offer no-cost counseling services. Make sure your student knows what their school offers and how to get help.
Does your student talk about being a burden to others? Do they talk about having no reason to live? Have they given away any of their valuable possessions to others? If your student displays any of these behaviors, ask them directly if they have considered suicide and if they have a plan to do so. Even if your student has not shared what they are experiencing with you, if you have any concerns that your student may be at risk of harming themselves, seek help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 800-273-8255.
Listen to your students and be open to what they are experiencing. Listening —, without judgement —, will show them that you take their experiences seriously and that you care most about their well being.
Many colleges and universities offer mental health counseling services for students.
Read more from Best Colleges about the top -five mental health issues that students face. We also encourage you to explore the resource list below.