The transition from high school to college is an exciting and fun time but it can also be scary for students and parents. Crystal Dubbelde, a clinical social worker with Mankato Clinic, says keeping communication open is the key.

Crystal Dubbelde says, “Ask open ended questions, who are you eating with? What activities are you involved in? What are you doing Friday night, who will you be with? Parents need to find out if their child is engaged in the college experience.”

Dubbelde says some things to look out for are too much or too little sleep, an extreme change in eating habits, and problems with drugs or alcohol. Even though no longer at home, Dubbelde says you can continue to steer them toward healthy choices.

She says, “Engage in your experience if you are a student. And for parents stay engaged in your child’s life and continue to grow the relationship. Trust your gut. You know your child, if things seem off, look more into it.”

Many colleges have resources on campus, or seek professional help if you are worried about depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns.