Office of Student Life

Mental Health and Well-being

Mental health and well-being are incredibly important for everyone. Many students experience stress, anxiety, or depression and for some this may be heightened in the transition to college life. The new pressures of college and the responsibility of making their own choices can often be overwhelming. You can emphasize the importance of seeking help while also providing your student information on where to access resources and services.

It is also important to note that while mental illness can happen at any age, it is often between the ages of 18-24 where young adults may begin having symptoms for mental health disorders. The link between substance misuse and mental health issues is well established, as individuals might use substances to self-medicate.

While it might be hard to imagine your child potentially misusing substances, SAMHSA states that one in seven full-time college students will meet the criteria for a substance use disorder, and college students have one of the highest rates of substance misuse. Substance use disorders cause significant impairments to health and well-being, and impact one’s ability to meet responsibilities.

Signs that may indicate Alcohol or Drug use concerns:

  • Missing or skipping classes and/or assignments.
  • Not participating in relationships or activities that they used to engage in.
  • A significant change in academic performance.
  • Frequent requests for money to cover expenses, or taking a second job.
  • Moodiness, defensiveness or silence when you try to talk to them about school.

Signs that may indicate onset of Mental Health concerns:

According to the American Psychiatric Association, several of the following occurring may indicate the need to see a mental health professional:

  • Dramatic sleep and appetite changes or decline in personal care.
  • Mood changes such as rapid or dramatic shifts in emotions, depressed feelings or greater irritability.
  • Recent social withdrawal and loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed.
  • Problems with concentration, memory or logical thought and speech that are hard to explain.
  • Heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells or touch; avoidance of over-stimulating situations.
  • Loss of initiative or desire to participate in any activity.
  • A vague feeling of being disconnected from oneself or one’s surroundings; a sense of unreality.
  • Unusual or exaggerated beliefs about personal powers to understand meanings or influence events; illogical or “magical” thinking typical of childhood in an adult.
  • Fear or suspiciousness of others or a strong nervous feeling.
  • Odd, uncharacteristic, peculiar behavior.
  • Changes in school or work such as increased absenteeism, worsening performance, difficulties in relationships with peers and co-workers.


National Institute of Mental Health: Substance use and Co-Occurring Mental Disorders