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Friday, September 15, 2017

Striking a Healthy Balance: Giving College Kids Independence and Connection 

In 2016, first-year college students reported all-time highs when it came to anxiety and depression. Similarly, college mental health services reported an increase in students seeking assistance and support for depression, anxiety, addictions and peer pressure to engage in dangerous drinking and sexual behaviors.

One explanation, say experts, is that the human brain doesn’t completely mature until about age 25 – and the last area to develop is the part of the brain responsible for good judgment. What’s more, 75 percent of all mental health conditions begin by age 24, making the college years a critical time for mental health support.

A recent article on titled “Helicopter parenting is bad for college kids—but a little hovering is just right” offered some good insight on how to find that delicate balance between letting college kids gain independence while providing some much-needed parental guidance and mental health support. 

Here’s a summary of some of their best tips: 
  • Guide, don’t pressure, your loved ones. This includes respecting their point of view, listening more than talking and asking follow-up questions to actively express your interest in what they tell you. 
  • Share own life and ups and downs. Transitioning to a more adult, mutual relationship means shifting the conversation to include your own experiences as well. 
  • Set up clear expectations. Be direct about your thoughts about communication, finances, sexual relations, roommate arrangements, and drug and alcohol use. But listen to your child’s point of view, too. 
  • Allow for mistakes. And make it clear that you are available if/when they need help rectifying a slip-up. 
  • Emphasize that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. And you can go a step further and help them find and make use of mental health services on and off campus. 
  • Don’t overlook college resources – for your child and for yourself. Many colleges offer workshops for parents during parents’ weekend, for example, as well as year-round online resources. 

Our Dual-Diagnosis Treatment 
At Hope Academy, we offer a highly individualized approach for young adults struggling with substance abuse and mental health conditions. Our proven treatment includes group and individual therapy, recreational therapy, nutrition and exercise, support groups, medication management, family therapy and aftercare planning. To learn more, call today: 866-930-4673. 

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