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A HEALTHY BODY, MIND AND HEART In college, probably for the first time, your student will be wholly responsible for taking care of their own physical and emotional wellbeing. For that reason, the most important health conversations you can have with them are ones where you encourage them to make wellness a priority in their daily lives, to familiarize themselves with health support resources on campus, and to always feel comfortable reaching out to you when they have a concern or just need a little advice.

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Review the resources that are available on campus.

Go over what to do if they get sick.

They’ll receive a lot of information at orientation and during move-in/welcome week, but it can be overwhelming. If you look at the website, you’ll be able to nudge them to explore what’s offered at the student health clinic and counseling/ mental health center. Your student will find online informational materials, classes and workshops, and drop-in support groups relating to pretty much every wellness issue under the sun:

Your student should have a first aid kit with a thermometer and basic over-the-counter remedies for self-care. Talk through some possible scenarios, ranging from how to treat a cold to how to know if it’s something more serious like the flu. Remind them that if symptoms (sore throat, fever, vomiting, headache, etc.) linger for days without improvement, they should definitely visit the campus health center — but they don’t have to suffer in silence if they just want to get checked out and have their mind put at ease.

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Nutrition and body positivity

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Revisit health-related topics each and every time you see or chat with your student.

Sexual health, gender identity, relationships

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Alcohol education

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Stress and anxiety management

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Conflict resolution skills

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Make sure they know how health insurance works. Go over their coverage (whether they’re signed up for the school’s health plan or are still covered by your family insurance plan) and how and where to access services. Will they use the campus health center for all their needs, or go there just for the easy/free stuff (flu shots, treatment for minor illnesses like colds) and see a provider or specialist in the local community?

Don’t forget about religious and spiritual life opportunities, and fitness classes and recreational facilities at the campus gym. It’s all FREE.

Since colleges are bound by a federal law called FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), which governs the privacy of student educational and treatment records, you won’t know if or when your student visits the campus health and counseling clinics. It’s up to your student to decide whether to share information with you, which is something else the two of you can discuss early on.

Visit “Wellness” on CollegiateParent.com to read about managing chronic illness in college, coping with allergies in the dorm, recognizing the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, and much more.

Talk to your student about responsible drinking. Most families have strict rules about drinking in high school, but in college an “abstinence only” policy may not be practical. National surveys show that 9 out of 10 college students experiment with alcohol, 7 out of 10 drink regularly, and 3 out of 10 will be problem drinkers. This doesn’t mean parents should feel helpless. Instead, by being proactive and talking regularly with your student about the campus party scene, their experiences with alcohol and what it means to drink responsibly, you can continue to have a positive influence. Educating your student about responsible drinking isn’t the same as encouraging or endorsing underage drinking. Instead, when you teach your student about how alcohol works in the body, the importance of protecting their cup and sticking with friends at parties, and how to recognize when it’s time to exit a situation or call for help, you’re emphasizing health, safety and self-advocacy. These conversations require that you know your facts, be honest and open-minded, and most of all, be ready to listen. Read the complete article: collegiateparent.com/wellness/talk-about-responsible-drinking.

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Profile for CollegiateParent

Austin, TX College Parent Magazine  

Support your student at Austin with advice from this College Parent Magazine. Flip through and discover information about finances, safety,...

Austin, TX College Parent Magazine  

Support your student at Austin with advice from this College Parent Magazine. Flip through and discover information about finances, safety,...