Many people look back on their college years as the best years of their lives. When examined more closely, however, the reality is often more stressful and difficult than most would like to remember. Although most college students manage to have fun, college is also a time of incredible developmental changes that are not always easily handled.
For many students, it is the first time living away from home and family. For most students, college is also the first time they need to learn to manage time, money, relationships, academics, and personal freedom. College is also the time when many students find themselves needing to make difficult decisions regarding alcohol and drug use, sexual behavior, values and beliefs, and career goals.
The majority of students deal with these transitions and challenges with great success. However, for some students, the pressures can seem unmanageable. Research has shown that the stress of managing transitions can cause biochemical, cognitive, and emotional changes that result in common mental health complaints such as depression and anxiety, and less common but more serious conditions, such as bipolar disorder and thought disorders. Efforts students may make on their own to cope with stressful situations may cause additional mental health concerns, including substance use and eating disorders. In some cases, students may contemplate suicide or may engage in other forms of self-injury. Inevitably, students in distress experience academic problems, which can be especially problematic, since academics are their primary responsibility while at college.
As the family member or friend of a Marymount student, you may become aware that your loved one is struggling emotionally. Especially if you are geographically distant, you may be uncertain how to best intervene to provide assistance and support. Know that you need not deal with these issues on your own—the Counseling Center exists to provide consultation to you and assistance to your loved one. The Counseling Center is staffed by licensed mental health professionals who are available to consult with family and friends by phone or in person to assist with
- Setting appropriate limits with your loved one in distress
- Clarifying the seriousness of the problem your loved one is having
- Planning effective ways to let him/her know your concerns regarding his/her behavior
- Developing a plan to refer your loved one to available sources of assistance
- Learning more about University and community resources