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Parents and Guardians

College is an exciting time full of new opportunities for your loved one.

At times, you might wonder how you can help support them as you each navigate changing context and a new environment. Below you will find some supportive resources you or your loved one might find helpful.

Our staff members do not initiate phone calls, emails, or room visits to students. If you believe your student is reluctant to call the Student Counseling Center, we would be happy to consult with you individually about your concerns. You may also call 865-974-HELP at any time to consult with a mental health professional. This line is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Students seek counseling for many reasons including, but not limited to, loneliness and adjustment issues, concerns about career choice and/or academic performance, family concerns such as alcoholism or divorce, emotional difficulties such as depression and anxiety, roommate conflicts, eating disorders, problems with alcohol and drug abuse, and suicidal feelings. Students seen at the Student Counseling Center may also be referred to our Mental Health Clinic for a medication evaluation or to other services depending on the nature of their presenting issues.

The college years, late adolescence, and young adulthood are a critical developmental time in the life of your student. In addition to growing intellectually, they are learning to live independently, make choices, accept responsibility, form relationships with others, contribute to the community, and further develop a sense of identity and purpose in life. These important steps are never easy and often are quite stressful. This is also a time when some individuals first experience problems with depression, anxiety, or other psychological disorders.

As mental health professionals, our staff members understand the concerns and anxieties that parents of university students experience. We view parents as critical partners in helping students survive and thrive in the university environment. Whether you have questions about the adjustment to the university or other psychological or emotional issues confronting your student, we welcome the opportunity to discuss your concerns and answer your questions. Be aware, however, that we cannot discuss whether or not your student is being seen at the Student Counseling Center without their permission.

Because psychological wellness is such an important component of every student’s success, we also encourage you to become familiar with the information on our website, to become familiar with our services, and to learn about the symptoms of depression, anxiety disorders, eating problems, and substance abuse. In this way, we can be effective partners for students’ wellness and mental health.

We can provide students with referrals to counseling services outside the university through a brief assessment appointment. Parents can help their students by contacting their insurance provider about local resources, especially those closest to campus.

Below are several links to informative websites that you might find helpful:

  • UT Parents’ Association
    • One of the university’s principal goals is to provide parents with information that will assist them as they support and share their student’s experience at UT. This website is designed to be one of the primary services to facilitate that process.
  • College Parents of America (CPA)
    • This national membership association helps parents prepare and put their children through college easily, economically and safely.

A history of prior therapy does not affect a student’s eligibility in any way. However, if your student is currently seeing a therapist, or has recently terminated, we strongly recommend that the student (and parents, if possible) discuss their therapy needs while at college with the therapist and any other professionals involved in their care. With appropriate permission, we would be happy to consult with his/her clinicians at home in order to explain the nature and scope of our services and to acquaint them with local service availability and referral information. This step facilitates the often challenging task of coordinating and continuing intervention for students who alternate time at home and time at the university.

The Student Counseling Center focuses on providing time-limited treatment. If you think your student’s needs will exceed this, please consult with your insurance carrier for an appropriate off-campus referral.

Our staff at the Student Counseling Center includes a psychiatrist and mental health nurse practitioners. If your student is already on psychotropic medication and you are local, we recommend you stay with your current provider. If your student is already on medication and you are hoping to transfer their care here, please have a treatment summary forwarded to us if possible.

Students seeking to start medication should make a Brief Assessment appointment at the Student Counseling Center for further evaluation. If a medication evaluation seems appropriate, the therapist will make that referral either to our providers or a community provider.