I am a Concerned Parent/Guardian or Other Family Member

College is a time of continuous growth and transition. Many families are prepared for the initial transition at the start of their student’s first year at UNC Asheville however; many changes will continue to happen. Various resources for working through these transitions can be found at the Student Transitions and Family Programs site. Students are working to balance their independence, which may cause them to change the way they communicate with you. This change is not always cause of concern as you and your student’s relationship will grow and evolve with time. However, if you notice a change in your student that leads you to believe they are working through a serious concern, please empower them to connect with an individual at the University. This site houses information on how to help your student connect with the appropriate resource and how to facilitate a potentially challenging conversation with your student when you are concerned.

CARE and Crisis Team

The Campus Assessment, Response, and Education (CARE) and Crisis Team is an interdisciplinary unit that works collaboratively to provide intervention, resources, and assistance to students that are struggling with their success at UNC Asheville. College is a time of continual growth and transition and some of these transitions and life events may spark personal crises that inhibit a student’s personal and academic success. The CARE and Crisis Team partners with faculty, staff, students, parents, and families to address these concerns and crises to ensure the health and safety of all our students. Members of the Team include representatives from our Health and Counseling Center, Residential Education, Multicultural Student Programs, and the University Police. If you are concerned about your student and are not sure what office or department would best help you address the concern, please reach out to our Student Affairs Case Manager, Laura Carper. The Case Manager can work with you to ensure that the concern is addressed in an appropriate manner.

When to be Concerned About Your Student

The following situations or behavioral changes could mean that your student needs additional support. This list is not exhaustive and we encourage you to listen to your intuition if you believe your student may be experiencing extreme difficulty.

  • Sudden change in communication habits
  • Sudden drastic change in weight
  • Not attending classes
  • Not completing assignments
  • Exceedingly low grades
  • Excessive inexplicable need for extra money

Facilitating a Productive Conversation When You are Concerned

The following steps can assist you in preparing for and conducting a productive conversation when you are concerned about your students.

  • Schedule a time to speak with your student
  • If you don’t have a regular communication schedule, ask them what date and time works best
  • Have an idea of how long the conversation should take so you do not make your student feel you are disrespecting their time
  • Prepare for the conversation
  • Know what the purpose of your conversation is
  • Research the different services available on the student’s campus to make yourself more informed
  • Remember, conversations involve two or more people
  • Do not lecture your student
  • Share the airtime – allow them to speak their peace as well
  • Actively listen to your student
  • Have a goal in mind
  • What would be the ideal outcome of your conversation? And be okay if that does not occur
  • Having a goal can help you stay on track and not get too caught up
  • Weigh the pros and cons of asking closed or open-ended questions
  • Benefits to both – depends upon the situation at hand and what type of information
  • Follow up after your conversation
  • Touch base afterward
  • Follow up on any plans that were set
  • Thank your student for trusting you and engaging with you

Empowering Your Student to Seek Help

College is a time of transition for the student and for those who care for and support the student. Times of personal difficulty or crisis can be times for incredible growth. Empowering your student to seek help on their own is a crucial step in helping them prepare for life after their collegiate journey. The following simple steps can help you be a source of encouragement during this time.

  • Don’t overwhelm them with resources
  • If you know the specific office or department the student may want to connect with, you could provide them with the telephone number, email contact, and hours of operation
  • If you do not know, start by connecting your student with the Student Affairs Case Manager, Laura Carper. The Case Manager serves as a resource to students and help connect them to the appropriate resources to address their concerns.

Understanding Student Privacy Rights

FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)

Additional Resources for Family Members

On Campus Resources

If you are concerned about your student, you can call one of the members of the Dean of Students team

Off Campus Resources

The JED Foundation partners with various organizations throughout the country to best support family members of college students living with mental and emotional health issues. Click here for a general guide on how to protect your student’s mental health, here for a guide on working with your student where they are experiencing bullying or harassment, and here for a list of additional organizations that the JED Foundation partners with.

Residential Students

If your student lives on campus and is working through a difficult time, encourage them to connect with their Resident Assistant or the Community Director (CD) of their hall:

Off Campus Students

If your student lives off-campus and is working through difficult times that impact their academic or personal well-being we still want to be sure to help them connect to the appropriate resource. When you speak with your student, try to ascertain what department is most closely related to their concern. If you are unsure of what office or department is most closely related to the issue your student is working through, please connect with the Student Affairs Case Manager, Laura Carper, who will work with you to help get your student connected.

Remember, helping your student locate different resources can be helpful during their times of need however, we want to empower the student to seek out the resource on their own. If your student is not seeking help and you are concerned for their well-being, please connect with the Student Affairs Case Manager to work through your concern and get your student connected to the appropriate resource(s).