Starting the Conversation: College and Your Mental Health [downloadable] [video]
To help put a thoughtful plan into place should a mental health condition arise, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and The Jed Foundation have created a guide to help start the conversation. It offers both parents and students the opportunity to learn more about mental health, including what the privacy laws are and how mental health information can be shared.
College life is full of opportunities for personal growth, greater independence and exploration of new social and academic experiences. New experiences make college an exciting time, but one that may also be stressful. Stress may come from keeping up with academic demands, forging new relationships and managing greater independence. Changes in stress levels, along with new sleep patterns and eating habits, can have a big impact on your health.
Conversations allow you to plan for the unexpected; to know what to do if you develop emotional distress, a mental health condition or if an existing condition worsens. Talking about mental health is important even if you don’t experience a mental health condition because a friend may need help. Students often prefer to confide in a friend before confiding in anyone else—or you may notice that a peer is struggling and you may be able to assist. By learning more, you’ll be better equipped to know what to do if you or a friend is in distress.
Keep these in mind
- Mental health conditions are common. In fact, one in five young adults will experience a mental health condition during college. If you develop a mental illness, remember that you are not alone.
- Exercise, sleep and diet are important. Your physical health and mental health are connected and impact one another. Remember to take care of your body in order to take care of your mind.
- Know where and when to seek help, and who to talk to. Make yourself aware of resources and care options on and off campus. If you start to feel overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to reach out to the counseling center or a trusted advisor.
- Understand your health privacy laws. Devise a plan on whether and how you will allow your school to share sensitive information about your mental health with your family or a trusted adult. Find out if your school has an authorization form, or use the one included in our guide.
- There are warning signs. Verse yourself on the warning signs of mental health conditions and how to respond. Being informed can save lives.
This short video covers the key points from the guide:
View or download the guide, Starting the Conversation: College and Your Mental Health from the NAMI website.
Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness | Starting the Conversation, https://www.nami.org/Support-Education/Publications-Reports/Guides/Starting-the-Conversation | Copyright © 2021 NAMI
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