Online Learning and Mental Health Resources
Tips For Helping You and Your Student Transitioning to Online Learning
Help your student create a workspace. Encourage them to work from a desk or a counter and not their bed. Choose a space that is well lit and somewhere quiet so they can hear their professors.
Support them during this process, but don’t do their work for them. Instruct them to contact their professor or classmates for help. Remind them that WVU is still offering tutoring services online.
Remember, your student is still in school. While they should help with tasks around the house, they shouldn’t be expected to babysit younger siblings or run to the grocery store during instructional time.
Be mindful that your student may be studying at odd times of the day or sleeping during the day. They have developed their own college routine. Trust their process.
Right now, your student may be under a lot of stress. It’s important to recognize that your student’s entire life just changed. They are likely nervous, sad, and possibly scared. Help them remain positive and patient through this time, especially as our entire University learns in an online-only environment for the first time.
Help them develop a new routine. Going online can be difficult for some students. Take some time to help them map out their days to include study times, snack breaks, and time to relax and recharge. Remember, your student is still in school and this should be their priority. While they may have other tasks they need to accomplish, this should be their first focus or “job” for the next few weeks.
To ensure your student is succeeding, ask them for their daily schedule. This way, you know when to have the dog out of their room or when you need to tell siblings to keep it down in order for them to hear their classes.
Encourage breaks that stay within the social distancing realm. We recommend exercising, watching some Netflix, or FaceTiming a friend. We do not encourage students to gather in-person with their local friends – even if six feet away.
We don’t want your student to lose focus of their goals. While they may be home and working from their room, they should still spend time looking for summer jobs and internships. Our Career Services and Career Counselors are available to talk with your student and conduct over-the-phone resume reviews, mock interviews, and preparing for jobs.
Don’t get caught on up in everything you read online. While social media and other various apps are a wonderful tool to keep connected, they also come with some negatives. Remind your student that not everything they read online is true and just because their friends won’t respect the self-quarantine period, doesn’t mean they should follow suite.
If at any time you are wondering about updates at WVU, check our coronavirus.wvu.edu site. This site is regularly updated. Follow the Mountaineer Parents Club on Facebook for up-to-date information, too.
Beware of phishing scams during this time. If you receive anything suspicious during this time, you should contact our ITS team at 304-293-4444. Be careful sharing information or spreading false information.
- Finally, remind your student that this isn’t a permanent situation and will only last a few months. Mental health is crucial during this time. Remind your student that you are around to listen and offer guidance. If they need to talk to someone else, we recommend they contact our Carruth Center to set-up a virtual call.
A Message from the Carruth Center
This semester has surely been unlike any other in our history. Many of our students have adapted by finding a routine and rhythm that has worked for them. During this break, it’s important for your student to continue that routine at home. Although your student is at home, they are not on break initially and they will still be engaged in their online classes. You may notice your student is more stressed than you expected as they try to find time and space to focus on academics. Now that they are home, they may feel pulled in multiple directions by family and academic obligations. You can support your student by allowing them to keep their academic routine and positively reinforcing and supporting their time spent studying and on coursework. It is important to encourage them to continue to keep in contact with their classmates and friends just as if they were still on campus.
As a parent, you may be wondering how to know if your student is struggling. Below are some signs that your student may be distressed:
- Decline in academic performance
- Prolonged sadness, tearfulness
- Weight changes
- Changes in personal hygiene
- Communicates thoughts of ending their life
- Agitation, irritability, nervousness
- Bizarre behavior or speech
- More extreme dependency on family
What you can do to help:
- Listen and be supportive without being critical or judgmental (no easy task!). Students are often their worst critics – they often worry about being perceived as failures.
- Let your student know that you care and communicate it directly.
- Ask your student how they are feeling and about what it’s like to be a student during a pandemic.
- Help them problem solve. What has worked for them in the past?
- Help them develop coping strategies and ways to take action but let them make their own choices.
- Support your student in seeking help and connecting them to resources. Encourage them to make the required phone calls or to send the related emails.
- Examine your expectations – this may not be their best semester (isn't that likely true for all of us?)
The list we provided above is a brief rather than comprehensive list and are typical signs that someone may be in distress. If you are concerned about your student and aren’t sure what to do, call 304-293-4431. Clinicians are available 24/7.
With the end of a semester often comes mixed emotions. There is relief that the break is finally here. There is also often worry about final grades. Adjusting to college in the midst of a pandemic is no easy feat, which may mean this may not be your student’s best academic semester. This may be the semester, or the year, that just good enough may be all that we can really manage. As a parent, you may have high expectations for your student’s success, but it’s especially important to be understanding and supportive while we navigate this new landscape.
Your student likely had high expectations for themselves, as well. In our roles as mental health professionals at the Carruth Center, we often witness students be deeply critical of themselves and place intense pressure on themselves to be successful, achieve their goals, and earn high grades. This pressure can be overwhelming and can actually make it difficult for students to reach these goals, which, in turn, can intensify negative feelings. You can help by reminding them that this is one semester out of many and that they have likely learned many life lessons during the last semester that will serve them well.
As a parent, being supportive is key. Help your student explore the roadblocks they may have experienced and discuss different approaches they can take for the spring semester. Help them be flexible and creative as they consider alternative approaches. Help them make use of all the resources that are available to help them succeed. WVU has an array of resources available from tutoring and success coaching to counseling services. Help your student connect with what we have to offer.
To access Crisis Intervention Services during break, have your student call 304-293-4431.
Students who are outside of West Virginia may access free services through My SSP (https://carruth.wvu.edu/resources/my-ssp).
The Crisis Text Line can be reached by texting “WVU” to 721741. If the crisis is life threatening, contact or visit your local emergency room.
New Mountaineer Families
Academics and Student Life
Our Student Success Coaching is Now Online
Students are able to schedule appointments with coaches to help stay on track academically. Student Success Coaches work individually with students to enhance their academic success in time management, note taking, reading, and study skills. Coaches will be able to help students make the transition to online learning. To schedule an appointment and learn more, please visit our Student Success site.
Tutoring Services Are Available Online
Students needing additional help in a subject should consider our online tutoring services. To view subjects and book and appointment, please visit our Tutoring Services website.
Career Services Offering Online Options
Career Services is still fully operational and offering their services online. Career Counselors are available to help with resume review, mock-interviews, and other career-related issues. Handshake is still working for students who are looking for jobs via that platform. Students can contact Career Services and schedule an appointment by emailing careerservices.wvu.edu.
Your Student’s Mental Health Is Important
Our Carruth Center has moved online, and students are encouraged to reach out the Center’s staff. Information on how to set up an appointment can be found here. Out-of-state students needing to use Morneau Shepell can go here.
Students who need immediate assistance should text our Crisis Text Line at 741741 to reach a live, trained counselor.
Adventure WV is offering virtual programming. Students can participate in online group activities that can last up to an hour.