Parents & Families

A time of transition

College is a period of transition, not only for your student, but for you and other members of your family. During this time of change your student will continue to need your support. Family members and caretakers can help by trusting and encouraging your student in their pursuits. Accept that you won’t know every detail of your student’s life. Most students come to college from a somewhat structured environment. Although your student may never have lived away from you before, it is important to realize that going to college is an exciting and important step in his/her maturation. The values and ethics you instilled will help your student make good choices and decisions. It is extremely helpful to talk about this with your student throughout their first year at UConn.

Your student is now at UConn where staff understand the developmental process and transitional issues experienced by students. Although UConn can seem like a large place, staff are ready to help students adjust to life here. This requires effort on the part of your student, as staff depend on students to come forward if they need help.

For more information on the transition process, consider reading the following:

How to identify or decide if my child needs counseling?

  • They feel an overwhelming and prolonged sense of sadness and helplessness in their futures
  • Their emotional difficulties make it hard for them to function day to day. For example, they are unable to concentrate on assignments and their class performance suffers as a result
  • Their actions are harmful to themselves or others
  • They are troubled by emotional difficulties facing family members or close friends
  • They just need someone with whom to talk
  • They have been in counseling and mental health services before and need follow-up

Role of Counseling and Mental Health Services (CMHS)

CMHS offers students individual therapy, couples therapy, group therapy, medication evaluation and monitoring, and emergency services. If a student needs services that CMHS does not provide, CMHS Staff will work with students on referring them to other resources on campus or in the community. Individual counseling is offered on a short term model with longer-term counseling offered through group. Please visit our  Clinical Services page to learn more.

Important Information About CMHS Fees and Insurance Billing.

How to help your child seek counseling

Talk to your child about seeking support, work with them on initiating services – it all starts with a phone call. Learn more about getting started.

If you are concerned about your child’s emotional or mental wellbeing and they are not responsive to your suggestion for counseling, please give us a call and we can talk with you about further options.

If you are concerned about your child’s safety you may contact Residential Life or the Dean of Students Office.

If you suspect your child might have engaged in life threatening behaviors or has made a threat of harm to self or others; and/or their whereabouts are unknown to you, notify UConn Police. Information that is helpful in addressing such an emergency is: last time of contact; concerning statements; contributing stressors; knowledge of substance use; medical concerns; knowledge of access to weapons; any previous history of life-threatening behaviors.

Limits of information

All contacts with Student Health Services/Counseling & Mental Health Services are strictly confidential in accordance with Connecticut state privacy laws. Records are not available to individuals or agencies, either on or off campus, without a student’s specific written permission. CMHS records are kept separately from medical records but are available to Student Health Services providers on a need-to-know basis. Copies of psychiatric medication prescriptions, laboratory reports, and a notation that there is a CMHS record are in the Student Health Services medical record. By law and by professional codes of ethics, confidentiality is only broken by a therapist when 1) the student is in imminent danger of harm to self or others 2) a therapist suspects abuse or neglect of a child under the age of 18 or other dependent or 3) a court orders a record. Even in these cases, we will try our best to work with the student in communicating this information to other parties. In accordance with university policy, CMHS records are destroyed after seven years.

What We Can Do

Even within the limits of confidentiality, we strive to partner with our parents and families. If you have information you feel is important to let us know, we encourage you to call with the understanding that what you share with us can be shared with your student. We are also glad to speak with you in hypotheticals to give you the best idea of what typically happens with students seeking mental health services. Our mission includes working with families and caretakers, so we strongly encourage you to contact us and let us consult with you to obtain the best outcome possible for you and your student.