Support for Parents and Guardians

 Parents, guardians, care-givers, and concerned loved ones of AU students sometimes face special challenges in their efforts to support their student. Challenges may include: feeling helpless to supervise or care for their student from a distance; difficulties making sense of cultural differences between the home culture and the university culture; observing troubling changes in their college student's moods or behaviors. These and other concerns related to being a loved one of an AU student are appropriate to bring to the Well-Being Center for a consultation with a clinician.

The Well-Being Center provides consultations to parents and loved ones on how to:

  • help a student in distress
  • how to refer a student to the Center
  • how to locate appropriate treatment or mental health care for your student

Call the Well-Being Center, (202) 885-3500, to speak with a clinician about your particular concerns. You may also call AUProtocall services, (202) 885-7979 if needing immediate support and consultation about concerns related to your student.

  • Please be aware that the Well-Being Center is prevented by law from sharing (even with a concerned parent) confidential information about a student's contact with the Center without the student's written permission.
  • Nevertheless, you are welcome to share your own concerns with a Well-Being Center clinician, and ask any questions you may have about the nature and limits of confidentiality, or the services we might provide to your student.
  • Also be aware that clinicians are first responsible to their clients and cannot agree ahead of time to keep third party consultations confidential.
  • Initial assessments, short term individual psychotherapy and group therapy is offered virtually for eligible students. 
  • However, many students require ongoing support that is more specialized, intensive, or extensive than is available on campus.
  • In general, ongoing mental health care is a private health care responsibility, not a service provided by the university.
  • For students who need off-campus care, students may contact My TELUS for immediate referral assistance, or a student may schedule an Initial Consultation by calling the Well-Being Center. a Center clinician can work with them to locate private care that is maximally accessible, appropriate, and affordable.

The following handouts and links offer some guidelines for helping students in distress. You are also invited to call the Well-Being Center for a consultation with a clinician: (202) 885-3500 or AUProtocall services (202) 885-7979


Information about mental health and human development can be found:

  • In our Resource Library, located in the Well-Being Center reception area;
  • and on our on-line Resources page.
  • Topics include depression, anxiety, relationships, eating disorders, trauma, and other issues of interest to you and your student. 

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Don't Tell Me What To Do, Just Send Money: The Essential Parenting Guide to the College Years, Helen Johnson and Christine Schelhas-Miller, July 2011
  • When Your Kid Goes To College: A Parent's Survival Guide. Carol Barkin, 1999
  • Letting Go (Fifth Edition): A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years. Karen Levin Coburn, March 2009


For more information, click on the links on the left-hand panel of this page. And follow us on social media for updates and useful tips!

  • Please reach out to AU's Parent and Family team, which dedicated specifically to supporting the needs of families. They're part of the Office of New Student and Family Programs.