Parents and guardians continue to play a vital role in the lives of their college-aged student.
You probably know your student better than anyone else does, so you will likely notice changes in mood or behavior that may indicate emotional or psychological distress. Since students tend to turn to their parents when it comes to making important decisions, your suggestion to consider counseling can be very influential. This section is designed to help you to do the following:
When a young person leaves for college, it is natural for them to experience changes in behavior, mood, and values. While these changes may lead to occasional disagreements or some temporary discomfort within the family, they are not necessarily signs that a student is having a psychological problem. However, the behaviors listed below may indicate cause for concern.
Some students may be initially hesitant about seeking counseling. When you have decided that professional counseling is indicated, tell your student directly and clearly why you are making the referral.
Short-term counseling is provided to all students enrolled in a degree program. If a student has difficulties that need more frequent and/or longer-term counseling to address adequately, we may suggest other resources that would be more appropriate.
All Counseling Center staff members have experience helping students with a wide range of concerns. Although we will do our best to honor a student’s preference to see a specific counselor, it may result in a longer wait time; therefore, it is preferable to refer students to the Counseling Center rather than to a specific counselor. You are welcome to call the Center and let us know that you have referred your student.
Asking your student whether they are thinking about suicide can feel uncomfortable and even frightening. You cannot increase someone’s risk of ending their life just by bringing up the topic. Research shows that acknowledging and talking about suicide might actually reduce suicidal thoughts. Many students feel very relieved when someone realizes they are hurting so much that they are having thoughts about not wanting to be alive. Even though someone might be thinking about suicide, it doesn’t mean they have a clear plan. The opportunity to have a conversation with a caring and supportive person can significantly reduce the risk that a student will actually harm themselves.
Signs a student might be considering suicide include:
Events associated with increased risk include:
Responding to Concerns about Suicide
If you have ANY concern that your student might be experiencing suicidal thoughts, you should ask them directly about your concerns.
The Counseling Center staff members are required by law and by professional ethics to protect the confidentiality of all contacts with students. The only exceptions occur in cases of imminent danger to self or others, reports of child abuse, or a court order. Without a student’s written permission, we cannot discuss the content of counseling sessions or the fact that they are a client of the Counseling Center. These requirements are in effect even when a parent has made the original referral to the Center. However, as long as we have a student’s permission, we are more than happy to speak with parents about their concerns.
If you have any questions about the services offered by the Center, please feel free to call (610) 330-5005 and request to speak with a counselor.
When the Counseling Center is closed, after-hours crisis support is available by calling 610.330.5005. The College works with ProtoCall Services to provide crisis support and referrals.
Please note: If you think your student is in imminent danger of harming themselves or someone else, please call the Office of Public Safety at 610.330.4444.
Local Behavioral Health Hospital:
Emergency Room at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg (610) 402-8000
2545 Schoenersville Road, Bethlehem, PA 18017
Togetherall is a peer-to-peer mental health community that empowers students to anonymously seek and provide support. This online resource is moderated by mental health professionals and offers a safe space for students connect with others experiencing similar feelings 24/7, 365 days a year. Togetherall also offers journaling, goal-setting and self-assessment tools, in addition to a wide range of self-guided courses to help support student mental health and well-being.
For those students who wish to seek counseling from an off-campus mental health professional, we offer referral consultations to help students locate treatment providers in the Lehigh Valley.
Students who are interested in receiving an evaluation for medication are encouraged to consult with the physicians in the Bailey Health Center who coordinate appointments with a consulting psychiatrist and psychiatric nurse practitioner (610.330.5001).