For many young adults, the reality of heading off to college for the first time may be very different than what they had planned in their heads. Where they expected instant friends and easy grades, they may find that meeting new people is difficult and classes are more challenging. These challenges can have a negative effect on their mental health and self esteem.
In the midst of a mental health epidemic on college campuses across the country, many young adults try to factor in finding therapeutic support when choosing colleges. One of the biggest struggles teens face when going to college is launching into independence, especially after leaving a residential treatment program. While they have taken steps in their lives to prepare emotionally to begin college, it is important for them to establish a support network and learn what resources they can access when struggling. Independent living programs for young women offer girls emotional support and coaching while they pursue their academic goals.
Struggling to Succeed in a College Environment
The college years are a difficult period for most students socially and academically. While they are full of opportunities for personal growth, it can be difficult to succeed in college when teens are overwhelmed by school stress, social pressure, and time management. Often, when preparing to enroll in college or after a short period in a college environment, young women question if they are capable of balancing school responsibilities with self-care. It is not uncommon for young adults to change their majors or consider dropping out or taking time off.
Common School Struggles
- Finding time to study
- Advocating for learning differences
- Staying organized
- Managing time
- Balancing a social life with responsibilities
- Feeling lonely
- Making time for self-care
Another common struggle for college students is feeling homesick. This can come from a combination of missing the comforts of home and having not yet created a home-like environment in their new college setting. Students who are experiencing homesickness may want to return home more often on weekends or free time, but this can actually worsen those feelings of being homesick. Instead, students can benefit from creating a routine on campus. They can focus on making their dorm room comfortable with reminders from home, but also things that remind them of what they are working towards while they’re at college.
In a Spring 2014 National College Health Assessment, 33 percent of students surveyed reported feeling so depressed within the previous 12 months that it was difficult to function. Almost 55 percent reported feeling overwhelming anxiety, while 87 percent reported feeling overwhelmed by their responsibilities. This may also be exacerbated by young adults’ use of social media. College students today have unparalleled access to information. This can be both a positive and a negative thing. Social media can be a wonderful tool to stay in touch with old friends or find inspiration for their next big project. But for some college students, social media becomes a way to compare themselves to peers and strangers. Young adults who are struggling with their mental health or feeling like they are failing at college can be made to feel even worse if they believe that everyone else is out there living their best life. Of course, social media usually only represents the poster’s highlight reel, but for those who are already feeling depressed, it can cause them to feel like there’s something wrong with them. They may wonder why they can’t just be happy like the people they see on social media.
Therapeutic Support at College
It is no surprise that many young adults face challenges when they leave home and enter college. They are leaving their comfort zone, family, and friends for the first time. This is exciting for some young adults, but for others, it can be scary to leave their safety net behind. And when they face their challenges or struggles, they may not know where they can turn to for help. Without people who know them well to notice that they are struggling, young adults may flounder without that support. It is crucial that young adults understand that it is OK to ask for help. They don’t have to be in crisis to reach out for support. In fact, it will be more beneficial if they can get help with the small struggles so that they do not pile up into an overwhelming amount of issues.
Before leaving for college, families should take the time to talk with their student about what they should do if they find themselves struggling with mental health or emotional stability. Understanding all of their options can best set students up for success. If they are feeling overwhelmed, they know that there are places they can go or people that they can reach out to. Talking about where to go for help can also help ease some of the pressure they may feel around having to be successful in school. Letting them know that perfection is not expected, but rather just doing their best and working towards their goals can have a deep impact on their comfort levels at school
The majority of health centers on campus offer free sessions up until a certain point. After this, they can talk to their counselor about continuing sessions with another professional off campus, especially since basic mental health services are now covered by most insurance providers. But while most colleges have a counseling department, they do not have the resources to provide consistent, individualized support for struggling students. Lack of access to mental health services on campus is one of the biggest reasons students drop out of college to prioritize getting help. After leaving a residential treatment program with a built-in support network, it can be a shock to return to college or start at a new school without the same level of support. A transitional program can help bridge the gap between treatment and returning back to their home environment.
Benefits of Independent Living Programs
For young adults struggling with depression, anxiety, motivation, and self-esteem, finding therapeutic support during college is essential for personal success. Independent living programs encourage students to stay enrolled in college while offering personal coaching in a supportive home-like environment.
- High school or college academics – Students have the option to enroll in local colleges, take online classes, or finish high school or its equivalency and continue to pursue their academic goals. Mentors help students work on organization, time management, and study skills.
- Skills, interests, and hobbies – We provide opportunities for girls to develop and nurture new passions and skills to make sure they don’t back into unproductive or unhealthy habits. Exploring interests helps shapes girls’ future goals and career paths.
- Vocational/career skills – We encourage young women to start thinking about their career goals through job coaching with mentors. They receive help with resumes, finding volunteer and job opportunities, and filling out job applications. Personal responsibility, teamwork, and conflict resolution skills learned in our community are essential for success in the workplace.
- Continued therapeutic support through weekly therapy, mentorship, and developing relationships with peers going through similar struggles.
- Developing personal responsibility in a structured home-like environment through chores, budgeting, and developing a personal routine.
- Building confidence. While girls we work with have grown a lot in previous programs, they have not had the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned. Integrating into the community helps girls practice new skills, bounce back from setbacks, and build resilience.
An independent living program like Journey Home East provides key supportive interventions in a home-like setting. We include various types of interventions including group, individual, and family support. As a transitional independent living program, we also help our residents work on independent living skills, develop positive peer and community relationships, help them with academic success, and provide exciting recreational activities.
Journey Home East helps provide the opportunity for greater freedoms and responsibilities entailed in pursuing further education or having a job. Residents are being supported in this process by our skilled staff.
Journey Home East Can Help
Journey Home East is a transitional living program for young women ages 16-21. This program focuses on helping women transition from long-term treatment to the real world. While they are at our program, we help build confidence in young adults. The idea is to ween them off support systems of being in programs for many years and hone in on functional living skills they need to be independent. Journey Home East helps with scheduling for school, classes, work, internships. This program also provides health coaching, relationship building, dating safety and personal safety tips.
Journey Home is the perfect fit for young women who are ready to build upon skills learned in therapeutic settings but recognize they still need guidance and support to further develop their success. Journey Home blends a traditional home setting with positive peer and staff relationships. At Journey Home we believe in the value of good health and healthy hobbies, two crucial aspects of happy, successful adults. Students have the opportunity to equip themselves with the skills they need to lead healthy and successful lives post-treatment.
Contact us at 855-290-9684. We can help your family today!