8 questions to ask to help your student's mental health

Review discussion topics to spark helpful conversations about mental health with your student.
Review discussion topics to spark helpful conversations about mental health with your student.

Connecting with your student regarding their mental health can be highly important to helping your student prioritize their mental, psychological and emotional well-being as they begin the academic year. Having conversations about mental health creates the opportunity to increase connection and comfort in talking about mental health, to provide support for your student and helps to discuss and identify on-campus resources available.

Below are discussion topics that can help spark helpful conversations about mental health.

  • How do you feel about seeking mental health support if you would find yourself needing to talk to someone about concerns?
  • What do you need from us/your family in supporting you and your mental health as you begin this school year?
  • What priorities do you have for the upcoming school year and how can I provide support and accountability for self-care and focusing on mental health as you balance other responsibilities?
  • Ask your student what would signs that they're experiencing heightened stress or difficulty focusing on mental health so you can help them seek support.
  • Ask your student about what strengths they possess that will be helpful to focus on as they navigate this time of transition as well as previous coping skills that they have found to be beneficial. What strengths do you see in your student that you would want to share with them?
  • What do you know about your family’s mental health history?
  • As a parent or family member, consider sharing your experiences with mental health while in college or other times of transition and what you found to be helpful to increase healthy coping.
  • What are your favorite self-care activities? How can your student implement these while at college?

Why Talking about Mental Health Is Important

Connection: It helps your student know they're not alone. It can be difficult to ask for support when struggling with mental health. By finding support in others, your student can build connections to decrease feelings of isolation.

Identify Resources: There is often a stigma surrounding mental health. It is important to normalize needing additional support, especially in times of transition such as beginning college. By beginning these conversations, it allows room for your student to explore what resources might be helpful as they navigate their college experience.

Overall Well-being: Mental health is just as important as physical health and often has an impact on many areas of life. Regularly discussing mental health promotes overall well-being.

As a reminder, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is a free, confidential resource on campus for individual counseling, group counseling, relationship counseling, and more. Visit caps.unl.edu to learn more about our services and to access online self-guided resources.

More details at: https://caps.unl.edu