For Parents and Families
The Counseling Center at FSU is committed to providing the highest quality mental health care to FSU students. As part of that mission, the Center offers consultation services to assist parents and families with any mental health concern you might have about your student.
As parents and family members, you may have an important perspective on how your student may be adjusting or functioning at the University. Though you may or may not have daily face to face contact with them, you still know them very well, and know when they are not functioning at their best. Your student’s behavior, especially if it is inconsistent with your previous observations, could be a sign that your student is struggling and needs help.
Signs suggesting a student may be in distress
- Not attending classes
- Increased dependence on a faculty/staff member
- Excessive procrastination
- Uncharacteristically poor or inconsistent school work
- Repeated requests to a professor for special consideration
- Worrisome or unusually personal content presented verbally or in written assignments
- Excessive worry or apathy about school work
- Feeling overwhelmed with academic demands
Behavioral (what you observe):
- Significant change in physical appearance (e.g., poor grooming or hygiene, excessive change in weight)
- Excessive energy (e.g., loud tone of voice, high level of activity, rapid speech)
- Inability to focus in a conversation or activity
- Thinking or speech that is disorganized, difficult to follow, or aggressive
- Strong mistrust of other people
- Violent or aggressive outbursts
- Irritable, sad, or depressed mood
- Reference to suicide or homicide (verbally or in written communication; direct or indirect)
- Threatening to others
- Inappropriate responses and/or display of intense emotion
- Slurred speech, unsteady gate, or other indications of substance use
What your student reports to you:
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
- Increased fatigue
- Tearfulness, irritability, excessive sadness
- Isolating or increased anti-social behaviors
- Engaging in high risk behaviors (e.g., driving recklessly, engaging in risky sexual behavior, thrill seeking)
- Loss of interest in activities
- Difficulty concentrating or feeling motivated
- Feeling helpless or hopeless
- Inability to relax
- High anxiety or restlessness
- Excessive alcohol or drug use and/or an increase in substance use
- Suicidal or homicidal thinking or behavior
If you would like to discuss any concerns or questions that you have about your student, please contact the Counseling Center at 508- 626-4640, or email us at: email@example.com and we will be happy to assist you.
Have a question we haven't answered below? Please contact us at 508-626-4640.
1. What is the best way to set up psychological counseling services for my student?
The best way for your student to arrange to be seen at the Counseling Center is to have your student call or email the Center to arrange an appointment. We will make every effort to see your student in a timely manner.
2. Do counselors call or email students to encourage them to make an appointment at the Counseling Center?
Counseling Center staff will contact students and encourage them to make use of our services when asked to do so by parents, faculty, staff, and friends.
3. Can the counselor keep me updated on how treatment is going?
Because of mental health laws and confidentiality restrictions, counselors cannot provide any treatment information about your student without a written release giving specific permission to do so. When appropriate, we encourage students to communicate directly with their parents about their treatment.
4. What if I want to share information about my student or inquire about how they are doing?
Although we cannot give out information to parents and family members unless the student has signed a release, we can listen to your concerns.
5. How can the Counseling Center help if my student is having serious academic problems?
If a serious personal situation is affecting your student's academic functioning, the Center staff can serve as a resource for connecting your student with the appropriate staff or faculty that can be of assistance (such as the Dean of Students Office, Center for Academic Success and Achievement, or the Advising Center).
6. What if a parent or family member, another student, or a faculty or staff member is concerned about a student?
Counselors are available Monday - Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (508-626-4640) to consult with you. Counselors can offer suggestions for helping the student, provide information about resources available on and off-campus, and offer suggestions about how to encourage the student to make an appointment to see a counselor. You can also make a referral to the Student Assistance Team and fill out a Student Assistance Team Referral Form on this site.
7. What if my student is having a psychological crisis?
If your student is experiencing a psychological crisis, they can contact the Counseling Center during business hours (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday), and will be evaluated. The staff at the Center encourage students to communicate with supportive parents or family members when they are in crisis.
If they are experiencing a psychological crisis after hours or on the weekends, they may contact Psychiatric Emergency Services to be evaluated. These clinicians will meet with your student to evaluate the current situation and make recommendations to ensure safety.
8. My student is already in therapy and taking a psychotropic medication. What should I do about the therapy and medication issue?
We suggest that students discuss with their prescriber and therapist their treatment needs while they attend school. If ongoing psychotherapy is desired, the Center can offer that, either in conjunction with existing providers, or, if appropriate, as the new provider of choice. A clinician from the Center can meet with your student to evaluate the needs and together make a Your student can maintain their established relationship with their medication prescriber to continue monitoring medication. Many students are able to maintain their periodic medication follow-up appointment with their hometown prescribers.
We suggest that students discuss with their prescriber and therapist treatment needs while they are away at school. If ongoing psychotherapy is desired, the Center can offer that, either in conjunction with existing providers, or, if appropriate, as the new provider of choice. A clinician from the Center can meet with your student to evaluate the needs and together make a determination about what treatment would be most beneficial for the student. Your student can maintain their established relationship with their medication prescriber to continue monitoring medication. Most students are able to maintain their periodic medication follow-up appointments with their prescribers.
The Staff at the Center will be happy to assist you in the following ways:
- Consult with you regarding your students’ adjustment to the university and what services or programs might be useful to help with that adjustment.
- Consult with you regarding your concerns about your students’ functioning in school and how we might assist you with getting them appropriate mental health care.
- Consult with you regarding assessing mental health care in your community for your student.
Please contact the Counseling Center at 508-626-4640, or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to assist you.
Confidentiality Information for Parents, Family, and Friends
Thank you for contacting us or referring students to us who are of concern to you. We are happy to consult with you related to any concerns you have about a student’s well-being. You may give us any information about the student that you feel would help us understand the current situation so that we can try to be as helpful as possible. Confidentiality dictates that we cannot share any information that we may have about the student, including if the student is known to us or in treatment with us. When you contact us, we will listen to you and work with you to come up with a plan that addresses your concerns about the student. We may make recommendations or provide referral information for additional supports on or off campus.
Protecting Your Child's Mental Health: What Can Parents Do?
By The JED Foundation
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