• Parents and Family

    Parents, guardians, and other family members are often the first to suspect that a student is struggling and in need of additional support. College, however, is often a time when students develop autonomy and independence and therefore may be resistant to family guidance. As a consequence, trying to connect them with support from a distance can be a challenge. SSCM and Counseling Services staff members are available to families who wish to discuss their concerns and brainstorm the most effective ways to connect a student with the appropriate resources.

    Recognizing signs of distress

    The following symptoms can indicate a serious matter that requires professional intervention. If you become aware of any of these warning signs, encourage the student to seek the help of a professional immediately. 

    • Demonstrating a sudden decline in school performance
    • Disclosing recurring thoughts about death or violence
    • Showing a loss of interest in or pleasure derived from activities that are usually motivating
    • Exhibiting signs of depression, including feelings of sadness, emptiness, or numbness
    • Reporting feelings of being stuck in an unhealthy relationship
    • Sharing feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness
    • Displaying extreme mood swings or sudden changes in personality
    • Showing signs of an eating disorder, such as binge eating in secret, use of weight-loss drugs, compulsive exercise, denial of hunger, or signs of distorted body image
    • Increasing or beginning use of alcohol and other drugs, especially suddenly
    • Expressing difficulty adjusting to gender identity or sexual orientation
    • Losing or gaining weight to an extreme
    • Changing sleep patterns (sleeping too much or too little)
    • Experiencing difficulty or an inability to concentrate

    Take any mention of suicide seriously

    Ask students if they are thinking about ending their life. Call 911 (if you are in the New York City area) or Campus Security at 212.229.7001 (if you are outside New York City) immediately if a student exhibits any of the following warning signs or if you have any concerns about their safety:

    • Talking about wanting to hurt or kill themselves or others
    • Obtaining or possessing a weapon or other item to hurt themselves
    • Talking about being trapped or in unbearable pain
    • Talking about being a burden to others
    • Talking about having no reason to live
    • Being anxious and agitated, behaving recklessly
    • Giving away treasured or personal possessions
    • Talking or writing about suicide or death

    A network of student support

    If you learn or suspect that your family member and New School student may need help, encourage them to reach out for support. If they do not get help, and you continue to be worried, give us a call to let us know—we want to hear from you. SSCM can be reached at 212.229.5900 x3701, and staff are on hand to help address your concerns. Students on campus are encouraged to call 911 when facing emergencies requiring immediate assistance. Parents and guardians in the New York City area who become aware of student emergencies requiring urgent attention should dial 911, and those outside of NYC should contact Campus Security by phone at 212.229.7001. Both can be reached 24 hours a day.

    Students are part of a university community that offers a comprehensive support and resource network 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

    Confidentiality and privacy of health care information

    Many parents and guardians find it difficult to handle student illnesses from afar. It becomes even more difficult when a student family member is treated by an unfamiliar health care provider who cannot share with you the assessment or plan of care.

    The New School maintains a strict policy on confidentiality to safeguard the privacy and security of our students’ health care information. We want students to trust us and ask us for our help without hesitation; confidentiality is a vital part of that trust. If a student is over the age of 18, they have the legal right to receive confidential health care. We encourage students to involve their parents and guardians in their health care as appropriate. In situations that are not life threatening, we must have a student’s permission to disclose health care information to you. The only exceptions are imminent safety concerns for the student or another individual. In such a situation, which is rare, information will be shared only on a need-to-know basis and in a discreet and respectful manner. We will use our professional judgment to notify you if necessary.