Resources for Parents & Guardians

It’s important to know more about mental health during the college years and proactive steps that can help you support your student if needed. 

If your student is headed to MSU and could use some guidance with the transition, we invite you to review the Guide to Health and Well-being at MSU from Student Health and Wellness (pdf). The guide includes information about services available to students and how to transition care from a provider back home.


Approximately 75% of mental health conditions begin by age 24, making college a critical time, especially as students transition away from their support systems. With one in five young adults living with a mental health condition and suicide ranking as the second leading cause of death among 15 to 24-year-olds, it is vital to talk about mental health before students leave for college. The guide contains information about mental health, privacy laws and how students can keep their parents informed.

Key takeaways:

  • Mental health conditions are common. One in five young adults will experience a mental health condition during their college years. When facing a mental illness, students should know they are not alone.
  • There are warning signs. Parents and students should learn how to recognize the warning signs of mental illness in themselves and in others before it’s too late. Being informed can save lives.
  • Seek help when you need it. Students should be aware of the mental health resources and care options available to them— for example, most colleges have health clinics on campus—and should not hesitate to ask for help.
  • Know the laws. Health privacy laws prevent mental health professionals from sharing sensitive information with families. Having a support system that is aware and involved will better enable students to overcome mental health challenges.

This guide will help students and parents better prepare for this transition by helping them understand and discuss issues related to college student mental health and establish a plan to address potential concerns together.”

Starting the Conversation: College and Your Mental Health is a resource for students and parents to start this important conversation.


"Protecting Your Child's Mental Health: What Can Parents Do?" is an additional guide from The JED Foundation that breaks down advice into three helpful perspectives: If your child is already in college, if your child is applying to college, and if your child has been accepted into – but has not started – college.