College Students- Need for Support and Continued Sessions
Why would a student require counseling services during the first year of college?
Most college students plan for college. But, most students and families alike, do not plan for the various adjustments students will be forced to face as they trade in the oversight of the family unit for more independence and self-sufficiency. The mere adjustment needed to self motivate within an environment in which everyone has a dynamic pedigree can be a challenge. The sense of feeling lost, alone and a failure can result in either anxiety or depressive disorders. Most are not prepared to address the ups and downs of home life that continues in their absence: a divorce, death or chronic illness of a family member in which they no longer have access for reassurance.
Some of the examples given are reasons in which it is important to review your health insurance plan -whether as an extension of a parent’s employment, or via the school to ensure that mental health services are covered, to include psychological assessments and medication management via an MD if such is required.
Also needed is a backup plan for how treatments will continue beyond the limited number of sessions offered by universities, and just as importantly, a plan should be developed in the case you encounter a long waiting list for psycho-therapeutic services. It is equally important to discuss with your school based service exactly how your concerns will be addressed during semester breaks- to include who will monitor your psychotropic medication. The same for those who plan to engage in a semester abroad- it is worthwhile to investigation or inquire with the country of choice whether their pharmacies stock your particular medication. If so, how would you be able to gain access to such with your current insurance status.
What are your options to pay for needed counseling sessions while pursuing your education?
Thanks to the recent American Healthcare Act, students may be eligible up to age 26 for physical and mental health coverage under the insurance plans belonging to their parents. If you would rather not involve your insurance company, inquire with your parents to research whether you, the student, would be covered for free services via your parents' employer (Employee Assistance Program). Keep in mind that EAP is more brief (offering on average 3-8 sessions) and more solution focused than traditional therapy. Another option would be to inquire whether your parents engage in a medical flex program through their employer in which they may be able to seek reimbursement for cost associated with your care. If medication is desired to assist, you would have to use health insurance to access a psychiatrist, or psychiatric RN, for both a more in depth assessment and medication. You will have to continue to visit with the psychiatrist, primary care physician, or nurse practitioner for medication management periodically for monitoring as long as you remain on psychotropic medication. If one-on-one sessions are not desirable, contact our local college counseling center to inquire about group sessions in which you would be teamed up with others who have a common concern.
What office should you contact on your college campus to request support?
University of Maryland
Bowie State University
George Washington University