Counseling Center

Parents are in a position to help

As a parent, it can be painful to know that your child is experiencing difficulty, especially if you are hundreds or thousands of miles away.  However, parents can and do provide incredible support from a distance and can play a key role in helping connect their son or daughter with the services they need.

Research tells us that, when students experience problems, they are most likely to reach out to their family and friends first.  In fact, they are about three times more likely to talk to a parent than to seek help from a college counseling center or other professional resource. Parents may also be the first to notice changes in a student, as you are intimately familiar with your son or daughter’s mood, behavior and, history.

What You Can Do

The information in the How to help a student pages is as relevant to parents as to the rest of the Amherst College community.  If you become concerned about your son or daughter’s wellbeing, the first step is to have an honest conversation with them, express your concerns, and listen to what they have to say.  By familiarizing yourself with the resources most appropriate with their situation, you can discuss them with your student and encourage them to connect to campus support services.  If you are still concerned that your student may be at risk and want to alert us to what is happening, you may contact your student’s Class Dean, listed on the Dean of Students home page.  While there are legal limits to what information we are able to disclose, we take your concerns seriously and want to partner with you in support of your son or daughter.

As parents, you must navigate the difficult balance of supporting, protecting, and advocating for your student’s wellbeing, while empowering them to establish their independence by making their own decisions and developing the skills they need to care for themselves.  Please know that Amherst is committed to helping students flourish personally as well as academically.