Transition to College
Recommendations for Students with Histories of Mental Health Concerns

Because We Care

Central Michigan University's primary mission is to provide a quality education for its students. Included in this commitment is recognizing that leaving home for the first time to attend college can be a stressful transition.

Because this adjustment can potentially lead to emotional and psychological issues or cause a relapse of problems associated with mental health conditions, the university and other on-campus resources provide limited support services to assist students in reaching their personal and academic potential.

The faculty and staff at CMU do care about their students and wish to support all students in their transition to college.

You Are Not Alone

If you have a history of mental health concerns or currently are taking a psychotropic medication, you may find comfort in knowing that you're not alone. Many students have received psychological and psychiatric assistance while growing up; others have experienced their first psychological or psychiatric challenges while in college. Some students require ongoing treatment for chronic conditions.

It is not uncommon for students to have past or current experiences with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, addiction, substance abuse, eating concerns - such as anorexia and bulimia - and other mental health concerns. In addition, some students struggle as a result of physical, emotional, or sexual trauma, and others have difficulty coping with relationship issues.

Comprehensive counseling services, the advancement of psychotropic medications, and the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act have provided unprecedented opportunities for individuals with mental health concerns to attend college and successfully complete a college education.

Recommendations

While the university provides limited support services, students are encouraged to proactively address their mental health concerns prior to coming to campus.

The following recommendations are offered to help students who either have had past mental health concerns or who currently are dealing with mental health challenges while preparing for the transition to college.

  • Start planning now for a healthy transition to college.
  • If you have put off getting help, don't wait any longer. The stresses inherent in leaving home, coupled with the transition to college and the related adjustments, may result in the worsening of your symptoms.
  • Meet with your psychiatrist, medical doctor, and/or mental health professional(s) to review medications you currently may be taking, discuss anticipated stresses related to the transition to college life and leaving home, and develop relapse prevention strategies.
  • Consider continuing to meet periodically with your mental health professional during your first semester at college rather than starting counseling with someone new and adding to the stress and changes you are experiencing.
  • Have an up-to-date treatment plan and follow it.
  • Take your medication as prescribed. Be careful to not self-medicate using alcohol, other drugs, or food.
  • Develop a stress management plan, and get adequate sleep. Increased stress and lack of sleep often are factors in the recurrence or enhancement of a mental health concern.
  • Maintain or develop a strong support system of family, friends and others. Be involved daily in activities you enjoy.
  • Know what you are going to do if symptoms of your condition begin to recur or intensify.
  • If symptoms of your condition begin to recur or intensify, respond quickly rather than putting off action. This can help you feel better more quickly and minimize the possible negative impact of a relapse on academic and social activities.
  • Contact the Counseling Center or a Counselor in Residence and make an appointment with a counselor who will assist you in developing your action plan. Our counselors also will provide you with short-term counseling and crisis assistance and help you connect with other campus and community resources.
  • Familiarize yourself with other campus and local community mental health resources prior to coming to campus. Residence Life staff members are excellent sources of assistance and referral for students living in campus housing.
  • If appropriate, register with the CMU Student Disability Services Office.

Helpful Web Sites

The following web sites provide information that may be of use to students, their families and other support people:

CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY

1200 S. Franklin St • Mount Pleasant, Mich. 48859
Phone: 989-774-4000

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