Health Tips And Plan For Potential Mental Health Issues For Teens Going To College

Health Tips And Plan For Potential Mental Health Issues For Teens Going To College

Updated on July 28, 2022 15:21 PM by Ella Bina

Medicine Physician And Professor Of Pediatrics

If your child is preparing to go away to college, especially those attending for the first time, now is the time to start getting everything in order regarding their health.

Dr. Margaret Stager, an adolescent medicine physician, and professor of pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine asked about what should be on their wellness checklist.

Get their annual medical exam right before they leave, Stager tells in this week's issue, on newsstands nationwide Friday. It's essential for those with chronic diseases asthma, Crohn's, and lupus to have their medications in order and a plan in place if they get sick during the semester.

The Student Health Center Plan And Decision

This plan, which Stager often coordinates with parents, may include a decision to go to the student health center, call their doctor at home, or make a trip to the local emergency room.

The adolescent and the young adult like to think, I'm going to be okay, she says. "But the stress of the move, the focus of the classes, and the pressure of the change in diet often can result in flare-ups of chronic diseases.

Also, ensure your child is current with vaccinations, including tetanus, meningitis B, and the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine for cancer prevention.

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Dental And Eye Checkups

It's also the time to get those dental and eye checkups, particularly for those who wear contacts or glasses, say Stager. Get that all figured out because it takes time to order the drinks and order the contacts. And then, you want enough to get you through several months.

Anyone with a known mental health condition before leaving for college, this is also the time to make the plan: What's your care going to be? You're going to be exposed to more stress. How will we ensure that you've got a sound support system? she says.

Privacy Policies And Notified Mental Health Difficulties

She adds that another reason to plan is that you may not even learn that your child's mental health is suffering, at least from the school.

She says that many colleges have privacy policies that don't allow parents to be notified if a student is having mental health difficulties. Some universities will have a waiver where the student says, yes, you can notify my parents or guardian about these areas.

Normalize these conversations, Stager says, especially with young women. It's about looking ahead and empowering them regarding reproductive health, emergency contraception, consent, and safe-sex practices.

Not every parent is comfortable doing this, she adds, but this is one of the everyday things that the pediatrician or the adolescent medicine specialist will discuss with a young lady.

Stager talks to her female patients about emergency contraception, what it means and how to access it. They will also offer a prescription for that with several refills, she says, because accidents happen.

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