How parents should help their kids cope with college depression

There is a mental-health crisis on America’s college campuses: One in six students was either diagnosed or treated for anxiety in the prior year, according to the American College Health Association. Suicide is the leading cause of death of college students and anxiety the most common mental issue. The Post spoke with B. Janet Hibbs, Ph.D., who co-wrote the book “The Stressed Years of Their Lives” (St. Martin’s Press), out now, with Dr. Anthony Rostain about how parents can help their college-age students.

Why is there a mental-health crisis on college campuses? There have been very rapid societal and economic changes in the past 20 years, including school shootings, 9/11, the War on Terror. With the iPhone, Facebook, etc., there’s an increased sense of the world as unsafe. Another part of what kids are learning about the world is that it’s more competitive, harsher and linear. A mistake becomes [construed as] a catastrophe: “I got a B, I will have a second-rate life.” Parents are just trying to give their kids the best options, but then the kids don’t have as much experience learning from their mistakes. And when they get to college, they don’t understand that they can recover from setbacks.

The article goes on to state the following:

What are warning signs parents can look for? Notable changes in appearance are signals of depression; bags under the eyes can be signs of mood change. Increased anger and irritability; changes that are different from their baseline mood. Ask your kid to sign a HIPAA waiver and a FERPA waiver, which allows parents to call the school and ask, “Has Johnny checked in recently?” You might end up learning that your child has been consistently missing classes, another indicator that there’s a problem.

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