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Information for Parents

College Student Mental Health in the News

Visit the College Student Mental Health in the News page for links and articles of interest.

Consulting with the Counseling Center Staff

Launching a son or daughter into the college years is a complicated process for parents. As with every life transition, parents want to do what is best for their children. Parents often become concerned about their college student’s emotional functioning. The Counseling Center is available to consult with parents who have questions or concerns about their Villanova son or daughter. It is best to call and schedule a time to talk to a psychologist – by phone or in person.

Issues commonly raised by parents are:

  • Is this a normal, developmental process for a college student?
  • How might the parent best support the student?
  • How might the parent convince the student to seek professional help?
  • If there is a basis for treating the student’s condition as an “emergency,” what steps should be taken?
  • The psychologist’s assistance will be based on the description you provide, and on our extensive experience working with college students’ emotional development. Our thoughts will NOT be based on information we have about your specific student. In fact, you probably will not be speaking to a psychologist who has met your son or daughter (see “disclosure” below).

Disclosure to Parents of Information about the Student

The student’s assurance of privacy is one of the conditions that makes counseling effective. The Counseling Center is prohibited by law from disclosing anything about the student without explicit written permission from the student. This even applies to parents! Some students have signed a “waiver” allowing parents to talk to academic deans about the student’s progress. That waiver does NOT apply to psychological counseling.

If you know that your son or daughter has seen one of our psychologists and if you think it is important to talk to your student’s psychologist, PLEASE TELL THE STUDENT OF YOUR CONCERN, AND ASK THE STUDENT TO SIGN A RELEASE OF INFORMATION AT THE COUNSELING CENTER, which then allows us to discuss your son or daughter with you.

We are not even free to share with you whether your student has sought counseling, as even that information is protected by state law.

Exceptions to Confidentiality

When we believe that any student is in imminent danger, at risk of seriously harming him/herself or someone else, we will seek the student’s permission to involve family members. If the student will not give permission, we are compelled to break confidentiality. In that case, we will contact the family.

If YOU have very worrisome information that we may not have, such as someone revealing to you that your son or daughter has made a suicide attempt, please call us and give us that information. In that unusual circumstance the priority is to protect the student, and the family’s involvement is essential.

In summary, if you are a concerned parent, call us! We will talk openly with you about the concerns you describe. If there is a confidentiality dilemma, we will work with you to determine what is best for the student.

Resources for Parents

Below is a list of books for parents. The first group focus on the student's transition. The second group focus on the impact on the parents' lives.

  • Almost Grown: Launching Your Child from High School to College by Patricia Pasick

  • College of the Overwhelmed: The Campus Mental Health Crisis and What to Do About It  by Richard Kadison

  • Don’t Tell Me What to Do, Just Send Money by Helen E. Johnson

  • Empty Nest ... Full Heart: The Journey from Home to College by Andrea Van Steenhouse

  • The Launching Years: Strategies for Parenting from Senior to College Life  by Laura Kastner, Jennifer Fugett Wyatt

  • Letting Go: A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years, Third Edition by Karen Levin Coburn (Author), Madge Lawrence Treeger

  • When Kids Go to College: A Parent's Guide to Changing Relationships by Barbara M. Newman , Philip R. Newman

  • When Your Kid Goes to College; A Parent's Survival Guide by Carol Barkin

  • You're On Your Own (But I'm Here if You Need Me) : Mentoring Your Child During the College Years
    by Marjorie Savage

Focus on the Parents' Experience of Changes Occurring during the College Years

  • Transition to College: Separation and Change for Parents and Students by Robin F. Goodman, Ph.D., New York University Child Study Center

  • Transition to College Stresses Parents and Kids by Emily Hagedorn / The Detroit News

  • Mothers and Their Adult Daughters: Mixed Emotions, Enduring Bonds by Karen Fingerman, Ph.D.

  • Empty Nest...Full Heart: The Journey from Home to College by Andrea Steenhouse

  • How to Survive and Thrive in an Empty Nest: Reclaiming your Life when Your Children have Grown by Jeanette Lauer et al

  • Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year
    by Anne Lamott

  • She's Leaving Home: Letting Go as a Daughter Goes to College by Connie Jones

  • The Empty Nest: When Children Leave Home by Shelley Bovey

  • When You're Facing the Empty Nest: Avoiding Midlife Meltdown When Your Child Leaves Home by Mary Ann Froehlich