It’s that time of year – back to school, off to college. Leaving home can be a frightening time for students and their parents. In addition to packing books and laptops, consider making mental health a priority conversation topic before their departure. The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB) can help. The CSB has launched a new Mental Health First Aid module that is directed towards Higher Education.
The Mental Health First Aid for Higher Education course is ideal for anyone who regularly interacts with students, both on and off campus, including parents, students, faculty, counselors, coaches and administrators.
The course includes a discussion of campus culture and its relevance to the topic of mental health. Participants will learn:
- How to recognize specific stresses and risk factors faced by the higher education population
- How to develop tools to support someone developing signs and symptoms of a mental illness or who is in emotional crisis.
- How to find resources on campus and in the community.
According to the National Council on Behavioral Health (NCBH), nearly 40 percent of young adults age 18-24 are enrolled in a two or four-year education institution; statistics show that 75 percent of mental illnesses develop before age 25 making colleges ideal locations for early identification.
In their 2016 annual report, the Center for Collegiate Mental Health cites that nearly half of college students have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder and one-third have seriously considered suicide. Make your students’ mental health a priority.
Mental Health First Aid classes help people learn about mental illnesses and substance use disorders (addictions) – that they are real, they are common, they are treatable, and that it is okay to seek help.
The NCBH and the CSB offer the following mental health discussion tips to consider before your student leaves home:
- Know the ins and outs of your insurance plan and coverage, how it relates to mental health and treatment options. What student health insurance options are available through the college? What are the out-of-network benefits provided by your insurance plan?
- Call the counseling center on campus to ask about the kind of coverage, professional staff and the range of services available.
- Familiarize yourself with the college’s code of conduct and leave of absence policies in case such measures must be taken.
- Learn about the signs and symptoms of mental health problems and how to connect your child to care if necessary.
- Engage your child in a conversation about mental health and how it relates to their experience as a college student.
- Most important – let your student know they’re not alone.
Request a customized Mental Health First Aid for Higher Ed class for your group or find out more about our open enrollment Mental Health First Aid courses. Questions? Contact Lori Naveda, Wellness Health Promotion & Prevention at 703-538-7476.
Contact for news media inquiries: CSB Communications Team, 703-324-7000.