Mental Health Preparedness

Going off to college represents a major life transition. Managing time, clarifying values, transitioning into new friendships, learning from mistakes, and developing autonomy will begin to occur when your student first arrives on campus and will continue throughout the college years. Some students may experience few problems while others find the process more difficult. It is expected and completely normal for students to experience some anxiety making the adjustments during each of the years they are in college.

College students are working to develop critical psychological and relational skills to help them be flexible and resilient as they encounter the challenges of adult life. The skills can be called Emotional Preparedness. Being emotionally prepared for college life and beyond can be summarized into the four following areas:

  • The ability to take care of oneself 
  • The ability to create and maintain healthy relationships
  • The ability to understand and manage challenging or uncomfortable feelings and behaviors
  • The ability to adapt to new situations and environments

Engaging your student in conversations regarding emotional preparedness will help them quickly adapt to their new home and the challenges associated with such a change. It is normal for students to experience ups and downs throughout college. If your student currently struggles with their mental health please read on to make sure you are aware of what SUU and the Cedar City area can (and cannot) provide for your student so you can make the necessary arrangements before they arrive. The following outlines SUU’s counseling and psychological services (CAPS) scope of service, including the services they provide.

“SUU CAPS serves a unique role on campus in providing brief mental health counseling and related services. Not all students with very real needs can be accommodated within our treatment model, and we will work with these students to identify other resources. An outside referral may be made following the initial appointment with a counselor, or it might occur after some treatment if student needs do not fall within our Scope of Practice. CAPS follows a predominantly short-term and solution-focused counseling model through a variety of services including crisis counseling, individual counseling, group counseling, workshops and support groups, biofeedback, and consultation.”

Mental health has been a significant issue for students for many years and the challenges have increased during these extraordinary times. You will find that SUU’s faculty and staff are committed to providing the best experience possible for your students. In addition to the services provided through CAPS and other campus resources, students can seek mental health care in the Cedar City community. It is important for you to know that at this point in time, Cedar City does not have inpatient psychiatric care available for our community members. Outpatient psychiatry services are also very limited. If you feel your student will need enhanced mental health support while they are a student at SUU, we encourage you to begin arranging this care prior to their arrival.

Takeaway:

Talk to your student about emotional preparedness, specifically:

  • The ability to take care of oneself 
  • The ability to create and maintain healthy relationships
  • The ability to understand and manage challenging or uncomfortable feelings and behaviors
  • The ability to adapt to new situations and environments

Make sure your student has a mental health plan that includes the services they need before they arrive at SUU. 

Next: Your Student's Checklist