General Information for Parents and Families

(courtesy Oregon State University)

Concerned about a family member?

  • If someone in your family is a student at Sacramento State, they will be experiencing a tremendous amount of change and growth during their time here. You can anticipate that there will be times when your family member will feel overwhelmed, anxious, stressed out, or even occasionally depressed. Making adult decisions, facing relationship challenges, and working hard to earn grades that will pave the way for a successful career - these can weigh heavily on a student’s mind. At times, they can interfere with that person’s ability to study or do well on exams and projects. While these difficulties often resolve themselves without assistance, there may be times when your student would benefit from additional support or talking with a professional. This is where you come in. You know your family member, and you are familiar with the signs that she or he is “stressed out.” You may wonder whether you should say something - and if so, what?

How do I support my family member/Sac State student?

  • Though they are reluctant to admit it, most college students care what their families think. A simple, straightforward, and non-judgmental expression of support from you may be the most important step in helping that student get back on track. We recommend that you do talk with your student if you are concerned.  Tell them specifically what you have observed (“you seem quiet” or “you didn’t laugh as much as usual last weekend” or “we noticed you were staring into space a lot”). This will help them understand that you noticed a change in their behavior and are interested in their life. Even more important, let them know that you are available to listen and that you understand that college can be tough. Remind them that you want what is best for them and that you will support them even if they stumble.

  What about professional help?

  • It may help to let your student know that there are a variety of resources available on campus. The Sacramento State website contains much useful information. Although your student was presented with this information at orientation, she/he may not remember it now. Encourage your student to take advantage of these services before her/his difficulties mount. Encourage him or her to give us a call or stop by to make an appointment. It’s important to know that our services are intended primarily to help students with short-term emotional adjustment problems rather than long-term, intensive psychological problems. However, if your student’s needs extend beyond our capacity, we can help your student develop a plan and provide consultation and referrals so she/he can obtain appropriate care.

What if I want advice about my family member/Sac State student? 

  • If you are concerned about your student and want to talk with someone, feel free to call Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at 916-278-6461 to speak with one of our counselors. The counselor can consult with you and help you identify the best options for supporting your family member.  The counselor can either take your call immediately or get back to you within a couple of hours. If your student is a client at CAPS, we’re legally prohibited from sharing that information with you, but we can always provide general information regarding how best to help as a parent or concerned family member.

For medical or psychiatric emergencies, please call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest hospital.