Start the Conversation. End the Shame.
The statistics are clear. As fall approaches, we are reminded that more students are arriving at college with a history of mental illness that includes major disorders. While universities put their efforts towards ensuring academic excellence, the question becomes are they doing enough to identify and help students struggling with mental health issues. Parents often assume their child will be kept safe when away, however emotional distress is typically kept hidden due to the stigma and shame involved. The best thing parents can do is to start the conversation at home.
Just in time to help students leaving for college, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Jed Foundation released a guide called Starting the Conversation: College and Your Mental Health. In addition to academic pressures, students sometimes feel very isolated when they are away from home. By using this guide, parents and family members can come together to talk openly and make sure students knows mental illness is not something they must face on their own. The more they know about warning signs, common issues and resources for seeking help, the better off they will be. Like a broken bone, mental illness is out of their control and absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Getting it out in the open helps. Start the conversation, today.