Advice for parents, guardians and friends of university students.

Advice for parents, guardians and friends of university students.

Advice for parents, guardians and friends of university students.

Are you concerned about a student at university, who you think may be struggling? Perhaps you’ve noticed a drop in motivation, or a change in their behaviour, difficulties in sleeping or in engaging with their studies. It can be hard to know what to say or how to help, especially if you are a parent or guardian some distance away and worried about a young person during their first time living away from home.

Transition and change can be challenging.

Moving to University and engaging with degree level studies can be hard for many different reasons. Transition and change are challenging for all of us, and it is normal to struggle with unexpected feelings and reactions when going through a time of change. Students can experience anxiety or homesickness, doubts about their abilities or motivation, and the loss of their usual friendship group and support network. Making friends and adjusting to a new place may not be easy.

Parents and guardians may struggle with the change in family life too, with a young adult moving away to university. Although this is a normal phase in family life, it can be hard to adjust to the loss of being a parent to a younger child, as the relationship changes and develops. Added to this, worries about a young person who is not doing so well can be difficult to manage at a distance.

How you can help

Firstly, it might be helpful and reassuring to let the person know that you are concerned about them, reminding them that you have them in mind and that you care. In time, this might allow a space for you to offer them a different perspective on a situation.


What to do if you are seriously concerned about a young person’s mental health

If you are very concerned, for whatever reason, about a young person at University.

At any time, if you are concerned about the person being at imminent risk of life-threatening harm, call emergency services on 999.

Looking after your own wellbeing

It can be hard to remember to look after ourselves, when we are concerned about someone else. Try to be kind to yourself and remember that this time of change may well be difficult for you and your wider family too. Try to make sure you’re not alone in supporting your young person, without support yourself, and remember that specialist and professional help is available if needed.

Organisations such as The Charlie Waller Trust offer support and advice to parents of young people struggling with their mental health.

At The Retreat Clinics, we can offer therapeutic support to students, parents, and families, and have a wide range of specialist therapies available. Our team of therapists and psychiatrists are here to help and can be accessed from our welcoming clinics in Manchester or York, or online. If you would like to book an appointment with one of our therapists Click Here