Ask Kari: My daughter seems stressed at college — how can I help her?

Dear Kari,

My daughter is in college full-time and seems stressed out every time I talk to her. She used to seem so happy; now I feel like she either doesn’t want to talk with me or something is going on in her life that she is hiding from me. What can I do to help her? She is so special to me; I want to help her see that she is loved, talented and should be happy about life.

Worried Mom

Dear Worried Mom,

You sound like a loving mother, who is concerned about her daughter’s happiness.  You daughter may experiencing a natural shift in how she communicates with you as a result of adjusting to being on her own. She may be finding her way and pressed for time due to her college classes, as well as social activities.  If you think neither of these things is true and a natural shift of growth is not occurring with you daughter, ask to visit with her in person. Check and see if she appears to be eating, grooming, interested in talking about things that she cares about. If she is doing fine with all of these actions, then she probably is not depressed. But, if she appears lethargic, lacks self-care, is under or over eating, then I recommended that she see her primary care doctor for a wellness check, as she may be depression and needs additional support from a health provider.


As published in the February 2015 issue of Connections.


About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a licensed independent clinical social worker and a resident of Issaquah Highlands.

This column is for entertainment purposes only. If you are in crisis and in need of support please contact the Crisis Clinic at 866-427-4747.

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