University can be an exciting time for students as they navigate new situations and experiences. University life can also be very demanding and almost every student will feel overwhelmed from time to time. Students often face personal pressures in addition to the usual stresses of university life. New students may be away from home for the first time and may find they are homesick and miss the close support of their family and friends. International students may find it challenging to adjust to a new culture. Mature students may find it difficult to balance work and personal responsibilities. Some students may be dealing with disabilities or health challenges. In addition, 70% of mental illness have their onset either before or during post-secondary study.

Establishing a healthy lifestyle and a strong support network to help build and maintain physical and mental well-being is an important first step for students. As a parent, being familiar with signs and symptoms of distress, and watching for significant changes in behaviour can ensure that students are connected with appropriate resources and services if needed. Carleton offers a wide variety of accessible resources and services that allow students to manage and maximize their mental health and well-being. To find the level of support that best meets your students’ individual needs, visit the Mental Health and Well-Being website and learn more about on-campus resources and support services, additional online, in person and by phone support resources, campus events, peer support and the Carleton Therapy Dogs program.

Students who are having persistent difficulties or who are in distress, may wish to seek counselling support. Carleton University students have access to Health & Counselling Services, for free counselling and mental health support as well as access to physicians for further assessment.

While it is always preferable that your student take the initiative to seek help, some students find it very difficult to take this first step. It is important to be aware that students have the right to refuse help unless it is an urgent situation where there is reason to believe that there is significant risk of physical harm to the student or others. In these cases, Campus Safety Services become involved and immediate action is taken to assess and respond.