Transition to college is not always easy. During the first week, two weeks, month, few months, it is not uncommon for some students to call and want to come home. For most, a friendly, empathic voice and someone to listen is all that is needed. You might want to arrange, with your child, a system for calling home and keeping in touch. Some students may need a weekend home for refueling; to touch base, eat a home-cooked meal, get some sleep in his/her own bed. Some need to know that their parents will be open-minded about talking about change, perhaps after the first semester. Most young people will separate from their parents in their own way and at their own pace.
Students also have “Big Brothers and Sisters” from the Orientation Committee or a Resident Assistant that they might feel comfortable talking with. If the student is reluctant to contact the Dean or Counseling and Psychological Services, parents can tell their student that they will make the call and we will contact your student. If you call, we will reach out to your student and have him/her come in to talk with a counselor. Your student will be informed that you called and that you were concerned about their well-being.
Moving to a place where you don’t know anyone can be a little difficult and stressful for some students. Drew’s small friendly campus makes this easy for them. If they live on campus, encourage them to go to the events scheduled in their hall by our enthusiastic Residence Life staff. Clubs and student organizations are also a great way to get connected – at last count Drew has over 90 clubs. Have them check out the web page for Student Organizations or the web page for Student Activities or Campus Life.
Your child can text “Heart” to 741741 to reach the National Text Helpline at any time.
Caring Contact also offers hope and compassion through their caring & crisis hotline. All services are provided by volunteers who devote themselves to preventing suicide and other self-destructive behavior by listening actively and empathetically to people in distress, offering them emotional support without judgment. Their listeners are there for you seven days a week. Call 908.232.2880 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., per volunteer availability, or 800.273.TALK (8255) 24 hours a day.
If your student has Drew’s health insurance, they can call CareConnect and talk to a licensed mental health clinician any time by calling 1-888-857-5462.
If they are feeling unsafe on campus they can call Public Safety or reach out to their Resident Assistant (RA).
Most will separate in their own way and at their own pace, but some may need more time at home and/or the help of a therapist/counselor. The best thing to do in this situation is to keep an open mind, don’t catastrophize. Explore options with your young person and outline a plan for when s/he is at home and for the future. Let your child know they can come to Counseling and Psychological Services at Drew for support and an assessment.
Having a roommate is like an arranged marriage. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. When it does, your student will have a companion, someone to have meals with, someone to confide in, someone to help with the first month’s loneliness. Even when it is good, however, there can be friction requiring negotiation and compromise. This is normal and will help your student develop their interpersonal skills and abilities. When your student complain (and they will), you will want to listen with a sympathetic ear and you might offer suggestions, but it would be helpful to let your young person know that you have confidence in their ability to problem-solve. Your young person can work it out with the roommate, speak to his/her RA, talk with a Dean, or explore ways of handling the situation through the Counseling Center.
Frequently, young people will call home complaining of “depression” and “anxiety”. Most of the time, students are able to cope and work things out for themselves, with a helping ear from mom and/or dad, and sometimes with a counselor. But there are occasions when, depending on what your child is reporting, that direct action must be taken. If, for example, your student “hints” or says outright, “I think I’m going to hurt or kill myself,” it is important for the student to get immediate help. Don’t delay. Parents can have the student call the Dean of Students Office (973-408-3390), Counseling and Psychological Services (973-408-3398), or (if it’s after 5 pm) our Public Safety Office (973-408-3379, or the Public Safety Emergency line 973-408-4444).
We encourage parents to communicate their concerns directly with their child rather than try to use a therapist as a go-between. If your child tells you they are seeing a counselor/therapist, on-campus or off-campus, and they tell you that they are withholding critical information from their therapist, encourage them to communicate directly with their therapist, rather than you trying to do it for them.
We do not use a “child guidance” model of treatment, like many high schools, where parents have access to their child’s records. When a student comes in for therapy or counseling, they are treated as an adult and we can not legally divulge to anyone (including parents, school administrators, or faculty) anything about their treatment (even the fact that they have come in) without their written consent. The only exceptions to this involve life and death emergencies.
If you feel you have critical information that your child’s therapist should know and you believe your child has not divulged, or you are looking for advice on how to be more helpful to your child, you can call the Counseling Center and consult with one of our staff. Even if your child has told you who their therapist is, we cannot even confirm this, and we will try to have you speak with someone who is not your child’s counselor. The staff member will not talk about your child’s treatment, as noted above, but if your child is in treatment, we will pass on any information you share to your child’s therapist.
We structure our services to encourage your child’s transition into adulthood and their taking responsibility for themselves.
If your child has had a sudden deterioration in functioning, has stopped communicating with anyone, or becomes irrational, by all means, reach out. If you believe your concern is urgent contact our Public Safety Office 24-hours ad day at 973-408-3379 or their emergency number 973-408-4444. During business hours you can call the Dean of Students Office at 973-408-3390. Call us during the day for a consultation at 973-408-3398.
Emergencies on Campus: 973-408-4444
Dean of Campus Life and Student Affairs: Frank Merckx, 973-408-3391
Counseling and Psychological Services: 973-408-3398
Drew Public Safety: 973-408-3379
Drew Health Service: 973-408-3414
Contact We Care Helpline: 908-232-2880 any time
National Text Helpline: "Hi" to 741741
Morristown Memorial Hospital Helpline: 973-540-0100