Parents are key people in the support systems of most college students. The resources in this section of our website are designed to help you play a supportive, mentoring role with your student, as well as a more direct, active role when the situation warrants it. Counseling Service staff members are directly concerned with the social/psychological health of UIU's students. We know this is a dimension of your student's health that is important to you, too.
Throughout the Counseling Service website, you will find resources to help you recognize when your student may be struggling emotionally, talk about these struggles with your student, and help your student get appropriate assistance. You will also find resources specific to helping your student with an abusive relationship, depression and suicidal thoughts, loss and grief, eating disorders, and drug or alcohol abuse.
The Jed Foundation, a nonprofit organization working to prevent suicide and promote mental health among college students, offers excellent suggestions in an article called "Protecting Your Child's Mental Health: What Parents Can Do." The Jed Foundation, along with the American Psychiatric Foundation, has also created a website called Transition Year for students and parents, with resources for student emotional health and wellness.
Students are welcome to discuss any personal issue, large or small, with a member of the Counseling Service staff.
Please see the Services Available section of our website for information about how your student may arrange an appointment with a counselor, confidentiality in counseling, and other related information.
Consultation With A Counselor About Your Student
When Your Student Is Not Seeing A Counselor
You are most welcome to call the Counseling Service (563-387-1375; weekdays 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.; 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.) to consult with a counselor when you are concerned about your student's psychological well being. A counselor can listen to your concerns, help sort out how serious or urgent the situation may be, and determine together with you the next steps in assisting your student.
If it seems appropriate, the counselor can help you consider how you can encourage your student to seek counseling, either here or with an off-campus mental health professional. The counselor can also share information with you about other campus resources that might be helpful to your student.
If the situation is urgent and more active intervention by college staff is indicated, the counselor can facilitate this process.
When Your Student Is A Counseling Service Client
If your student is already seeing a counselor in our office, you may wish to consult at some point. Your student's counselor can always listen to anything you wish to share regarding your student. The information you share is most useful when the counselor can bring this information into the next counseling session with the student.
Trust and openness are foundations of a good counseling relationship. This is an additional reason why it is best if the counselor can share any contacts from you with your student. If you would like to share information with your student's counselor, please talk with your student about your desire to do so and what you plan to share.
If you feel strongly that you do not want your student to know about your call to the Counseling Service, please ask to speak to a counselor other than your student's counselor and do not share your name, your student's name, or any identifying information about your student. This counselor can listen and can talk with you in general terms about the kind of difficulties your student is having, much as described in the preceding section.
One of the cornerstones of students' trust in the Counseling Service is the promise of confidentiality, within certain limits. Particularly on a small campus like ours, students want to be sure that their status as Counseling Service clients and anything they share with their counselor are matters that we will keep private and confidential, unless they give us permission to share information or someone is in immediate danger. If confidentiality were questionable, students would be quite reluctant to seek counseling.
Our Policy on Confidentiality follows professional ethical guidelines and state laws that govern the privacy of mental health treatment and the conditions under which information may be shared.
According to these guidelines and laws, we are unable to say whether or not a specific student is involved in counseling with us, or to share any counseling information, unless we either have the permission of the client to do so or there is imminent danger of serious physical harm coming to the client or to someone else. (There are other limited exceptions to confidentiality that occur rarely in our setting and you may review them in the policy statement.)
If you plan to consult with your student's counselor and would like to learn how your student is doing, how counseling is going, how you can best support your student, or other information, please explain this to your student and ask him/her to give the counselor permission to share such information with you.
We are glad not only to listen to your thoughts and concerns, but also to share relevant counseling information with you, as long as we have your student's permission. With your student's permission, the counselor may also initiate a consult with you at some point in the counseling process. Parents can be great resources to students as they work their way through difficult issues or situations.
Please know that if your student's counselor ever thinks your student is in imminent danger of making a suicide attempt or doing serious harm to someone else, the counselor will breach confidentiality to the extent necessary to keep the student safe. Depending on the situation, this can mean immediately involving various college staff, the Fayette Police Department, and/or the Palmar Lutheran Emergency Room in West Union, IA.
The goal is to get the student to a safe place right away and then plan for continued safeguards to prevent harm. In such a situation, the counselor or the Student Life Office would also contact parents to be involved in planning for the student's safety.
Counseling Service Parameters And Off-Campus Referral
Counseling Services Parameters
The Counseling Service works directly with 90% or more of the students who request counseling from us. After assessing issues and treatment needs, we refer students to off-campus mental health professionals when a student appears to need treatment that is longer-term, more intensive, or more specialized than we have the resources to provide in our office.
We typically refer students with psychological problems of several years duration to off-campus professionals. We also usually refer students with serious, ongoing substance-abuse problems and with significant eating disorders, since both of these issues require more specialized intervention. When an off-campus referral is necessary, Counseling Service staff can assist you and your student to find the appropriate resources.
Off-Campus Providers And Insurance Issues
There are a number of mental health professionals and agencies in the surrounding communities. Please consult with the counseling services office for referral information.
Psychiatric Services: psychiatrists are available in nearby communities: Abbe Center for Community Mental Health in West Union, offers comprehensive mental health services: including psychiatric services, and ongoing therapy services for a variety of issues. Other resources include Northeast Iowa Behavioral Health Center and Gundersen Clinic in Decorah as well as a variety of resources in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area.
Substance Abuse Services: for treatment of serious substance abuse problems, we suggest treatment providers in Waterloo, IA as well as services in Oelwein and Decorah IA.
You should be aware that we do not have a comprehensive eating disorders treatment program in the Fayette area. From past experience with assisting students, we know that the best treatment for eating disorders includes working with a therapist, a physician, and a dietician. These resources are all available in this area, but not in one agency. These resources would be available through Allen Hospital in the Waterloo area, which is approximately an hours drive from Fayette. Therefore, you and your student will need to be sure that providers communicate well with you and with each other to help your student maintain his/her health. You will need to be proactive about securing and coordinating the appropriate resources for your student, if he or she needs continued treatment for an eating disorder.
Other Campus Support Resources: Counseling Services and a number of other offices on campus work together collaboratively to support students who are struggling with personal or mental health issues. Staff from the following offices may also be resources for your student: Academic Success, Career Development , Office of Student Development, the tutoring center, The writing center as well as Disability Services. Please note, if your student has been in treatment for significant psychological problems, he/she may meet the criteria for having a "psychological disability" and may be eligible for "reasonable accommodations," as set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act. To explore this, please contact Disability Services.