The Mental Health Association of Oklahoma says they've noticed an increase in mental health problems among college students as they start the school year in the middle of a pandemic.
Local experts say there's both local and national studies showing this trend. Along with the typical college stressors they say students are trying to follow the guidelines for physical distancing but some of them are just isolating which leads to even more problems. There's several ways that students are responding anything from deciding to do a gap year to unhealthy coping methods, like drinking and other risk behaviors.
Rebecca Hubbard with the Mental Health Association says parents need to work with their child to create a mental health plan. That means thinking about the point where you decide to get help, look at what your resources are and thinking about who you're surrounding yourself with.
"Just like with our physical health, if we're struggling, we go to a doctor and we try to get to feeling better. Same with our mental health. If we're struggling, we can reach out to a therapist or psychiatrist, get help and thrive rather than just survive," said Hubbard.
The Mental Health Association says parents should frequently check in with their child and students should spend time in social but physically distanced environments, eat healthy and exercise.