College, Disabilities, and Success

#75 Tips to Help Your Child Manage College Stress

August 03, 2022 Mickie Hayes Season 2 Episode 75
College, Disabilities, and Success
#75 Tips to Help Your Child Manage College Stress
Show Notes Transcript

Parents and teachers will learn the several stressors that many students attending college experience.   If you find it difficult to begin those conversations with your child, you will also learn about eight different conversation starters that will help bridge any hesitancy or difficulty opening up the dialogue between you and your child and eight different approaches for guiding those conversations. You will also learn seven early warning signs of student stress, and you can download an Infographic from the National Alliance for Mental Illness called "Navigating a Mental Health Crisis."  This Infographic includes warning signs, symptoms, and suggestions about reacting to the situation.

In addition, you will hear about one student's situation with a suicidal friend, and how that college has since developed a unique approach to improving support for students on campus who are experiencing mental health stress and emergencies.

How to Help Your Child Reduce Their Stress and Thrive During College

CSU Long Beach Makes Mental Health Priority

CSU Long Beach Data

Education Beat Podcast - Who Should Respond to Crisis Calls on Campus

NAMI Infographic - Navigating a Mental Health Crisis

Student Mental Health Status Report: Struggles, Stressors and Supports

Insights College Pulse (data)

Mickie  0:00  
Are you concerned about the new stress levels that your child with a disability will be facing soon as he or she heads to college? Does your child have a plan for handling that stress? We all know college is stressful at certain times for certain people, but the statistics that I have today are really rather staggering. In March 2022 insights by college pulse asked 2000 students how they would grade their overall mental health and only 9% graded at an A. And when they asked those same students how they would grade their institution on its student mental health services only 10% greater than an A, those statistics speak volumes. It doesn't appear to be a very good indicator that campuses are doing what they need to do to help struggling students. That's huge college is stressful. Today, we're going to talk about how you can help your child get ready for college and alleviate some of the stress and we're also going to learn about how one college in California took some major steps and set up a mental health strategy plan unlike any other in the country. So welcome to College Disabilities, and Success. Episode 75 Tips to Help Your Child Manage College Stress with Mickie Hayes. The opinions in this podcast are my own please reach out to your college physician or legal services for additional information. So what exactly are the stressors that students are coping with? According to an article student mental health status report struggles, stressors and supports by Melissa Ezarik that was published on April 19 2022. In Inside Higher students are struggling to cope most with keeping up with the coursework, pressure to do well in college concerns about money and balancing school and work obligations. The same article talks about how students' priorities have changed due to COVID. And this is really interesting. There's more focus on personal relationships followed by taking care of my mental health and taking care of my physical health and taking care of my education. Only 6% Don't believe the pandemic had any effect on their priorities. Now the question arises do the struggling students have someone to turn to and according to the research done by Inside Higher Education 46% feel as though they have at least one person in their life that they can talk to when they feel stressed or anxious another 30% somewhat agree with that statement. So that is a total of 76% who agree somewhat or strongly that they have somebody that they can turn to so that's a good thing. Also, Forbes online has an article that is part of the series parenting for success from April 30 2019 called how to help your child reduce their stress and thrive during college by Kathy Caprino former Marriage and Family Therapist and parent of two grown children and she shares some information about helping your child at college. In her article Kathy Caprino consults to leading adolescent mental health experts be Janet Hibbs, PhD, and Anthony Ross stain MD who have co authored a book called The stressed years of their lives helping your child survive and thrive during their college years. In the article Dr. Ross Steyn offers some honest conversation starters for a parent to have with their child and he recommends that parents dialogue with their child to have these conversations rather than lecture to begin with. Are you ready to take responsibility for the consequences of your actions? This conversation will check on the conscientiousness of your child to find out about interpersonal skills. The doctor asks, Are you ready to make friends deal with roommates and find suitable social activities doctor also asks about self control, can you resist temptations? Are you ready to set time limits on TV or online things that will lead to insufficient sleep and disruption of self care and studying to check your child's grit? Are you ready to cope with frustration, disappointment, failure and persist in the face of setbacks and obstacles? And I think this is particularly important for students with disabilities because they live with obstacles on a regular basis. Now I know every parent is concerned about excessive use of alcohol and drugs. And so Dr. Ross stain sick this conversation starter. Are you ready to have fun without taking too many risks or too many substances?

Mickie  4:50  
And I'm going to add here that if you've had a child who has had a problem with substance abuse or alcohol in the past and they are in some sort of a recovery program And they're going to college that can be a documented disability to qualify for accommodations. So definitely worth a conversation if that applies to your child's particular situation. But understand for that to happen, the child needs to be in a recovery program of some sort or showing efforts to recover from a problem that can be documented. You want to check on your child's self acceptance. Can you accept your faults? tolerate your mistakes and deal with your problems without feeling too guilty or too ashamed? And are you ready to ask for help when things aren't going well for you? How good is your child at keeping an open mind and asking for help? And Dr. Hibbs adds that there are a lot of online resources that will guide the conversation and the topics that they suggest you use are choosing a good time to talk listening without distractions, verbalizing respect, appealing to common goals between you and your child. Avoid conversation killers acknowledge that conflict is inevitable agree to disagree and shun debates. She mentions that early warning signs include difficulty falling asleep or waking up a lack of motivation to study a drop off in class attendance and school performance lethargy, social withdrawal, lack of enjoyment in your usual activities, expression of excessive guilt or hopelessness. So if you happen to notice these signs, you can certainly encourage your child to seek support from somebody at the college if you're not there, a friend a counselor resources that that the college has already in place. That's where you want to do your homework ahead of time and know what's the college has available to your child so that if these situations do arise, you know how to address them with your child. But there's a point to where your child needs to know how they can reach out to support at the college itself. Now some colleges are real good at setting up support for students and others not so much. So one of the questions when you have that initial interview with disability services might be to talk about the resources that your college has for students with disabilities that find themselves in stressful situations. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has an infographic that I will share with you today also called navigating a mental health crisis. And it includes the warning signs of a mental health crisis, some of the symptoms that you may notice in your child and what to do about a mental health crisis with eight suggestions about reacting to the situation. So the infographic will be available to you as well. When you get a chance Listen to the education beat podcast who should respond to crisis calls on campus, a California State University Long Beach College student named Presley received a text message from her best friend, her friend's brother and her friend's parents also received messages. And Presley knew immediately what the message is meant. And she was pretty certain that her friend was going to commit suicide. And she didn't know what to do. I mean, she didn't know who to reach out to. And she tried to text her friend back couldn't get through her friend had shut off the phone. And she really was unsure of what to do next. But she decided to call 911 Just like you would do in any emergency. And she feared calling 911 Because she was truly afraid that whatever crisis her friend was going through, the police would not be able to deescalate and give her friend the help that she needed that

Mickie  8:37  
she would not understand what was going on, and it would escalate rather than de-escalate. Eventually, they got the friend to the hospital. But the friend did say that when the police came in, it only made her friend feel more afraid and more like an outcast. And it really exacerbated the mental health crisis that she was in at the moment. And it wasn't through anybody's fault. It was just that the fear of seeing the police brought on its own level of anxiety. Eventually, her friend ended up in a psychiatric unit at a hospital at the time, the 911 number to call the police was really the only option available and that is what the friend ultimately decided to do because she knew that she needed to save her friend's life however she could whatever it took at California State Long Beach specifically on that campus. 86% reported moderate or high stress in the last 12 months. We're going to look at an article from that was written on Jul,y 8 2022. By Ashley a Smith. The article is titled CSU Long Beach makes mental health priority. The first CSU campus to station counselors in the police station proactively check on students California State University campus at Long Beach has done something that no other college Campus has done across the United States and that is they have partnered with the local police department to provide mental health services for students that are in crisis on the Long Beach campus of Long Beach at California State University has about 40,000 students there and Beth Larsen, the Vice President of Student Affairs on the Long Beach campus decided a few years ago to build a comprehensive campus-wide mental health strategic plan. And so she started by looking nationally to see what other plans were out there and she could not find any she couldn't find a single campus with a specific mental health strategic plan. And so long beach campus at California State wrote its own plan and it is believed to be the first such plan in the country. So if you're interested in finding out more about what Long Beach did, they have 60 action items in this article that will be rolled out through the next few years. One of the items though that launches this year includes revamping the response students receive when police are notified when they're experiencing a mental health crisis. So the initiative that they developed is the mobile crisis unit and it employs two mental health professionals like psychologists in the University Police Department to respond to psychiatric emergencies on campus with the new mobile crisis unit. The mental health professionals who are on scene at the crisis situation will be able to admit an individual to the hospital if necessary, or determine if counseling will be sufficient, but they will have the power to admit somebody directly to the hospital where in normal circumstances the police need to be available to make that decision to admit somebody to a hospital Long Beach would become the first Cal State campus in the 23 campus university system of California State to offer this kind of response to psychiatric emergencies. The campus received a $400,000 grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to employ the mental health professionals in the Campus Police Department students of color have especially advocated for fewer police officers responding to these types of emergencies. The program will provide mental health professionals which we've already stated, but besides the two mental health professionals as part of the police response, there is also a text messaging peer-to-peer program that employs students to contact others during high-stress high-stress times like finals, the student mentors receive training to handle the conversations independently and know when to reach out for professional help or supervision. They ran a pilot version of the text messaging program in the spring and reached out to 1400 students and they had nearly a 50% response rate. And they said if you send an email, you're lucky if you get a 30%. So the text messaging system is really, really seems to be an effective way to reach students. Some simply said they were fine, but they responded some responded that a family member had died or they are struggling with classes. They had anxiety. Some students simply needed somebody to listen to them. Some people didn't know the help that they had that was available to them. Some students required more help than that. But the texting initiative will expand this coming fall to 11,000 students and they hope to have it expanded to all the students by the spring of 2023.

Mickie  13:22  
If you want to know more about the California State University Long Beach program, they have it all laid out and I will have the links in today's show notes but they have a four-tiered continuum of care that they're basing this program on in level one is population health and prevention programs, workshops, events, marketing awareness, D stigmatization, level two is high touch opportunities. In other words, talking to faculty members, peer mentors, advisors, supervisors, parents families with Level Three specialized students self-report and referral for individual counseling, therapy groups, and case managers. And then level four, which is urgent and timely response. Those are the care crisis phone line in Crisis Text Line. If you'd like to duplicate or investigate the program that they are developing in Long Beach, the links that I have in the show notes will give you a lot of information about their program and how you can reach them. As a parent, sending your child off to college is generally a stressful time anyway. When your child has a disability that stress is compounded. And when your child has a mental health disability, oftentimes it's compounded even more when your child starts college, have a conversation with disability services, find out what the resources are. Find out what your child is going to need to do to reach those services. Remember, that child is 18 You cannot go in and do for them. So you need to take a close look Look at some of the things that your child is going to have to do and help prepare your child at home for these kinds of changes. Thank you for joining me today. All of these links will be in the show notes. But if you have any questions, please reach out to me at Mickey M I C K I E, Or check out my website at Mickie But in the meantime, have a great rest of the day and we'll talk again soon. Bye. Information contained throughout this podcast has been gleaned from my own personal experiences, but to ensure accuracy please contact the Disability Services at the college of your choice to have firsthand information and the most up-to-date policies and procedures followed for your particular institution of higher education. The content in any of these podcasts is not intended as a substitute for information from legal, educational, or medical professionals. Always seek the advice of your attorney or qualified health care provider with any questions you may have with regards to legal educational or medical concerns.

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