Family, Covid-19, & Mental Health - Volume 1, Issue 1

Family, Covid-19, Mental Health

For many young people, attending college is a major life transition and the first time they experience life away from home in a very independent setting.  Both the physical and emotional distance between students and their identified families allow them to grow substantially, by defining their own values and morals as well as exploring a multitude of life roles and identities offered by a diverse university community.

Though a very exciting time, it can also be overwhelming. Distance from close relationships, security, comfort and normalcy can increase discomfort. Students who find excitement in new experiences can feel some internal conflict when they expand or adjust their interests, morals and values beyond their upbringing. Beginning in the first year with selecting a major and continuing all the way to post-graduate planning, there may be conflicts in expectations from home versus the freedom of opportunities offered at Wes.

When a student leaves home, families continue to evolve. Whether a family struggles with minor irritations or deep resentments, existing family turmoil can increase. Parents can often move, separate, or divorce. Siblings or family members can develop physical and/or emotional illness. This can result in students feeling confused, guilty, and/or responsible for resolving their family’s problems. These feelings can impact social, emotional, and academic functioning. Students may find it difficult to take care of themselves, to set healthy boundaries, and may put others’ needs before their own. Substance use may increase and daily demands can become difficult to manage.

It is important for you to engage in reflection if any of these experiences and feelings are present. Learning how to balance commitments and responsibilities is a common challenge for college students and is extremely important in order to have the most productive and positive college experience possible. Maintaining a social network of friends and activities can help cope, and establishing some distance from home and family can offer the space required to fully examine its impact.

Talking to a mental health professional can improve your ability to communicate effectively, handle family situations, let go of unhelpful beliefs, and increase independent functioning both at home and away. While you may feel concerned this process will be too overwhelming, psychotherapy can assist you in gaining understanding and insight and help you find more effective ways to respond to your family-related struggles. More importantly, it can help you balance your academic workload, social involvement and all the relationships in your life.

Call CAPS and set up an appointment to speak with a counselor to help explore possible solutions, develop skills or simply for additional support.  Please call us today at 860-685-2910.

If you are concerned for your safety or the safety of others, please call 911 or public safety at 860-685-3333.