May has been designated as Mental Health Month in the US. The number of both youth and adults that are suffering from mental health challenges continues to increase and the COVID year has exacerbated symptoms in many cases.
High school and college students are struggling at an alarming rate and they are not always reaching out for help. Please look at the resources I have posted below to learn about which signs to watch for, and so you can check with your young adult to see if they are needing outside support.
Anxiety for some students stems from academic pressures. In these situations, it really is beneficial to help your child identify what would help. A tutor? An ADHD or academic coach to help with time management, organization, or focus?
If their anxiety or depression is more generalized, a mental health therapist can make all the difference. There is often reluctance to get started and it can take time to find the right person, but it is so worth it to give your child relief and start on an easier path. You may also find that these professionals can lower your stress level as a parent, as you no longer have to be the only adult trying to help.
I also want to point out that these challenges do not magically go away when your child moves away from home to attend college. In fact, if left untreated, the situation usually worsens and can be the reason why your child does not succeed at college and needs to take a leave of absence or is asked to leave. That is tough to recover from and the student often feels a lot of shame and reduced self-esteem as they try to piece things back together at a community college or in a job the following year.
Some students will benefit from living at home and attending community college, a transition program to help them ease into college with additional support, or a Gap Year to add some maturity and an increased sense of who they are and what direction they want to pursue. If your child does not seem ready for a traditional four-year college experience, it is best to look at alternatives.
I hope you and your family stay healthy this spring – both mentally and physically!