FAQ by Parents and Loved Ones

My son/daughter is a first-year student, is coming to Valpo already diagnosed with depression, and needs medication monitoring only. Where does she go?

If your student only requires medication, he/she can call us in order to discuss referral options. We provide psychiatric medication services only to students who are also receiving counseling services from us. For students like your son/daughter, we can help by sharing the contact information to providers within our local community. Students may also be able to receive medication monitoring services at the Student Health Center on campus, though this is provided on a case-by-case basis.

What can I do if I suspect that my son/daughter could benefit from professional help and support?

We recommend that you express to your son/daughter your concerns in a straightforward, yet loving and supportive way. It might be helpful to say something like, “I’m worried about you. You just don’t seem to be yourself lately. Have you thought about going to talk to someone about your concerns? I think it would be really good for you to talk with someone who can help you sort out whatever is bothering you. Will you call the Counseling Center to make an appointment?”

How can I tell if my son/daughter is in emotional distress?

Everyone feels upset at times. However, if you observe some of the following with your son/daughter, we encourage you to talk to him/her about receiving help from us. While this list is not intended to be exhaustive, we hope that it provides you with some information regarding “warning signs.”

  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Panic attacks or excessive worrying
  • Marked difficulty with concentration
  • Changes in sleep or appetite
  • Alcohol or other drug abuse
  • Recent losses (e.g., death of a loved one, relationship break-up)
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, friendships and schoolwork
  • Increased conflict with family and loved ones
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness

The option to seek help is ultimately up to your son/daughter. If he/she is reluctant to make an appointment with us, we encourage you to continue to be supportive, allow for some time to pass, then bring it up again if you are still observing signs of emotional distress. You may also contact us for a consultation, and we can offer you support, and possibly other strategies for encouraging your son/daughter to seek help. If you are concerned about the immediate safety regarding your son/daughter (e.g., suicidal threats or attempt), or with individuals around him/her, please call 911 for immediate help.

Return to For Parents and Loved Ones.

This was developed by the Valparaiso University Counseling Center staff, with thanks to the University of Michigan Counseling and Psychological Services for some helpful information.