Tag Archives: child

Homesickness in College Students

How to Deal with Homesickness in College

One of the main causes of distress in students is homesickness. According to the UCLA Higher Education Institute, over 30% of college students experience low-level homesickness, and about 69% of first year college students experience severe homesickness.

Homesickness is more than the concept of missing home or missing family — it’s the feeling of longing and feeling out of place. Whether they’re nearby, out-of-state, or studying in a foreign country, college students are not only experiencing a new phase of life, but they’re also at a new school, in a new place.

Although it’s normal to feel homesick, wanting to enjoy a home-cooked meal with family or not wanting to deal with adult responsibilities and academic pressures may quickly make homesickness grow. Homesickness builds in waves and can turn into more serious mental health issues if not taken seriously.

Last year, Assist America worked on a severe case of homesickness, helping an 18-year-old student from Germany who was hospitalized after his homesickness transformed into serious depressive episodes.

In the weeks leading up to his hospitalization, the student had shown increased signs of homesickness, including mentioning that he wanted to go home, a decrease in the desire to participate in activities and social events, and suicidal thoughts.

After a while, his roommates told the university staff about his behavior, and he was later admitted to the hospital. Once he was stable, Assist America arranged for transportation supervised by a medical escort to take him back to Germany.

Tips for Overcoming Homesickness

Some preventive measures can be taken by both parents and students to help overcome homesickness.

For Parents

  • You can help your child prepare for college life by visiting the campus ahead of time so they can familiarize themselves with its surroundings.

  • In the years before college, consider sending your child to summer camps, activities, or to visit family away from home , so they can gradually learn to deal with separation anxiety.

  • Avoid expressing your own anxiety about your child leaving for college in front of them. Instead, talk optimistically and positively about their new experiences to come.

  • Encourage your child to find trusted friends and adults on campus. These relationships will help them build connections in their new community and ease the transition.

  • Consider sending little surprise care packages to your child. Include their favorite cookies or candies, a new book, gift cards to their favorite stores, a letter, and a funny family photo.

  • Make the most of technology. Staying in touch on the phone or through video chat is easier than ever and can help the whole family feel connected.

For Students

  • Stay engaged in campus activities. Many colleges organize welcome week events to help students get used to college culture.

  • Establish and stick to a daily routine, even if it’s difficult to stay on track with exams and events around every corner. Routines are good for dealing with stress and anxiety and will help you adjust to your new community and class schedule.

  • Feeling homesick is normal, as long as you can handle the situation. To help battle feelings of loneliness, keep a family picture on your study table, video-chat often, or go old-school and write letters to family and friends back home.

  • Find ways to reward yourself as you make gains in your new routine. For instance, after submitting an important assignment or taking a big exam, take some time to do something fun or treat yourself with something you like.

  • If campus is only a drive away, you and your parents and friends can plan a few weekends throughout the school year to visit each other on campus, at home, or to meet at a halfway-point.

  • When packing for college, take some of your favorite decorations from your room to make your new room feel more like home.

  • Know what services are available to you to help you cope with homesickness. Too often students don’t realize all the things their college has ready to help them with exactly these issues. Never shy away from seeking advice from a trusted adult on campus about these services. Or you can look into these services privately on your school’s website.

While Studying Abroad

  • Students who study abroad are even more likely to feel homesick since they have to adjust to a whole new culture and lifestyle, learn to speak a new language, and meet all new people from many backgrounds.

  • A challenge while studying abroad is knowing who you can ask questions and how and where to get help. Before leaving, create a reference list with the names, contact details, and roles of people that will be helpful during your stay. Once you arrive, be sure to add anyone important you meet to your list. 

  • Schools often have an international student department who will organize welcome events and get-togethers. Be sure to attend those activities, especially at the beginning of your time abroad.

  • Many international programs also have Facebook groups where former and new students can exchange tips and experiences. Joining these groups to make connections and prepare before leaving home.

  • Make friends with people from the same country as you. When you’re missing home, spend time together. Your shared experience of studying abroad can make you feel a little closer to home.

How Assist America Can Help

Assist America provides useful services that can reassure parents and students studying out-of-state or abroad.

For example, Assist America can help students find where and how they can refill certain prescriptions before they even leave home, so they can plan their departure with peace of mind.

Students who know they will need to see a doctor while away from home can call us or Assist America for referrals. Assist America also provides emergency trauma counseling for students on the phone, with referrals for follow-up sessions with specialists.

Finally, students going to a foreign country can use the Pre-Trip Information tool on Assist America’s website and the mobile app to familiarize themselves with their destination.

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Children’s Vision and Learning Month

Children’s Vision and Learning Month

It’s Children’s Vision and Learning Month, and you’d be surprised how important vision can be to learning.

1 in 10 children have a vision problem significant enough to affect their ability to learn.

Children's Vision and Learning

 

20/20 vision means you can see at a distance, but it doesn’t mean a child can focus, coordinate, and track with their eyes, which can impact their performance in school.

Vision and Focus at School

 

Children with vision problems can be misdiagnosed with ADHD because they have poor reading comprehension, skip or reread lines, take longer to do school work, or show a short attention span.

Mistaken ADHD Diagnoses Based on Vision Issues

 

Teaching your kids skills like using scissors, drawing, painting, and handwriting before school can help them establish hand-eye coordination, be ahead in school, and help you spot potential eye problems.

Teaching Hand-Eye Coordination

 

School vision screenings provide less than 4% of the eye tests needed to help kids see, and they can miss up to 75% of vision problems.

School Vision Screenings

 

61% of children who were found to have eye problems through school screenings are never taken to the doctor to get help.

Going to the Eye Doctor

 

Yearly comprehensive vision exams with an eye doctor are the best way to protect your child’s sight and make sure they’re prepared to learn at school.

Get Ready for Kindergarten Month

Get Ready for Kindergarten Month

August is Get Ready for Kindergarten Month! The first thing to do to make sure your little one is ready to start school is to check out our Summer Health Checklist.

Summer Health Checklist

 

Double-check which shots your little one needs before they start kindergarten.

Your Children’s Preventive Care and Physicals

 

Make sure they’ve had their annual physical before they start. What happens at their next annual well-child appointment? We can help.

Well-Child Visits – Ages 5 to 10

 

Read books with your child to help them get ready for their first day of school.

Read About Kindergarten

 

Walk your child by the school, play on the playground, and if possible, give them a tour to make them feel more secure.

Tour the School

 

Plan their sleep schedule ahead of time so they’ll be adjusted to their new morning schedule for school.

Adjust Their Sleep Schedule

 

If you can, take a practice bus trip or walk through their morning trip with them so they’re ready on the first day of school to tackle getting there.

Practice the Bus Trip

Children's Mental Health Week

Children’s Mental Health Week

It’s Children’s Mental Health Week. Sometimes kids are just being kids, and sometimes they can have real mental health concerns, and getting help can improve their quality of life.

Self-esteem is an important part of kids’ long-term mental health. These are some simple ways to boost your child’s self-esteem.

Boosting Your Children's Self-Esteem

 

If children worry excessively to the point that they’re restless and have trouble concentrating or sleeping and it interferes in their day-to-day life, they may have an anxiety disorder.

Worrying Too Much As a Child

 

Children might have ADHD if they frequently lose things, have trouble paying attention, are forgetful, and have trouble holding still.

ADHD Signs and Symptoms

 

If your child swings from highs that include excessive energy, risky behavior, and a feeling that nothing can go wrong to lows that include constant sadness and low energy, they may have bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Disorder in Children

 

Depression includes feelings of sadness and hopelessness that last longer and go above normal feelings of sadness. If your child has it, there are treatments to help.

Fighting Depression as a Child

 

Your child might have obsessive compulsive disorder if they’re overly afraid of germs and things being disorderly or if they have to double-check things over and over.

OCD in Kids

 

If your child is having delusions, it can be very scary for you and for them. Learn more.

Children's Preventive Care

Your Children’s Preventive Care and Physicals

Getting your kids to their physicals and checkups, where they can get covered children’s preventive care and screenings, helps them be their healthiest. It’s important not only that you know what’s recommended for their ages and what they need to stay up to date, but also that you get them to the doctor for this on the right schedule.

What Happens at Their Physical

Your child needs to have regular wellness visits with their doctor to focus on their development, health, and wellness. At the appointment, some of the basics your doctor will cover are:

  • Checking that your child is developing at a healthy rate and tracking their health information and history
  • Getting a physical exam
  • Staying up to date with their preventive care
  • Getting education and counseling
  • If needed, setting health goals

Visit Schedule

Your baby needs to go to well-baby visits at:

  • 1 month old
  • 2 months old
  • 4 months old
  • 6 months old
  • 9 months old

Children need to visit their doctor at:

Adolescents and teens should visit the doctor at least once a year:

Choose a visit from the lists above to learn more about what will happen at that visit.

Children’s Preventive Care

Certain children’s preventive care and screenings are always covered, depending on timing and what your doctor recommends.

Newborns

  • Gonorrhea preventive medication
  • Hearing screening
  • Hemoglobinopathies or sickle cell screening
  • Hypothyroidism screening
  • Phenylketonuria (PKU) screening

Babies and Small Children

0 to 11 months
  • Behavioral assessment
  • Blood pressure screening
  • Height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) measurements
  • Medical history
  • Tuberculin testing
  • Oral health risk assessment
  • Iron supplements for children ages 6 to 12 months at risk for anemia

Children

1 to 4 years
  • Behavioral assessment
  • Blood pressure screening
  • BMI measurements
  • Medical history
  • Tuberculin testing
  • Oral health risk assessment
  • Iron supplements for children ages 6 to 12 months at risk for anemia
  • Autism screening for children at 18 and 24 months
  • Developmental screening for children under age 3
5 to 10
  • Behavioral assessment
  • Blood pressure screening
  • BMI measurements
  • Medical history
  • Tuberculin testing
  • Oral health risk assessment

Adolescents/Teenagers

11 to 14
  • Behavioral assessment
  • Blood pressure screening
  • BMI measurements
  • Medical history
  • Tuberculin testing
  • Hepatitis B screening for adolescents at high risk
  • Alcohol and drug use assessments
  • Cervical dysplasia screening for sexually active females
  • Depression screening
  • Sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention
  • counseling and screening for adolescents at higher risk
15 to 17
  • Behavioral assessment
  • Blood pressure screening
  • BMI measurements
  • Medical history
  • Tuberculin testing
  • Hepatitis B screening for adolescents at high risk
  • Alcohol and drug use assessments
  • Cervical dysplasia screening for sexually active females
  • Depression screening
  • Sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention
  • counseling and screening for adolescents at higher risk

General

  • Obesity screening and counseling
  • Hematocrit or hemoglobin screening
  • Lead screening for children at risk of exposure
Dental and Vision

Plans that meet the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefits also include some vision and dental coverage:

  • Dental exam every 6 months
  • Cleanings, fluoride treatments, and X-rays
  • Fluoride chemoprevention supplements for children without fluoride in their water source
  • Yearly vision screening for all children
  • Most people can get help with their child’s glasses or contacts on their plan too

You can also buy extra dental coverage to add to your plan for a low monthly cost.

Immunizations

Vaccines, or shots, are an important part of your children’s preventive care. These should be delivered on a specific schedule to make sure your kids are protected at every age. Shots that are listed more than once at different ages include multiple doses to finish the vaccine.

Newborn
  • Hepatitis B
1 to 2 month
  • Hepatitis B
2, 4, and 6 months
  • Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTaP)
  • Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib)
  • Polio
  • Pneumococcal conjugate
  • Rotavirus
6 to 18 months
  • Hepatits B
  • Polio
  • 2 flu shots (6 months or older)
12 months and older
  • 12 to 15
    • Hib
    • Pneumococcal conjugate
    • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)
    • Varicella (Chickenpox)
  • 12 to 18
    • DTaP
  • 12 to 23
    • Hepatitis A
18 months and older
  • Hepatits A
  • Flu shot once a year
4 to 6 years
  • DTaP
  • Polio
  • MMR
  • Varicella
  • Flu shot once a year
11 to 12
  • Tdap (booster to DTaP)
  • Meningococcal A, C, W, and Y (MenACWY)
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) – 2 doses
  • Flu shot once a year
16 years
  • MenACWY
  • Flu shot once a year
18 years
  • Meningococcal B (MenB) – Talk to your child’s doctor to find out if they need this vaccine.
  • Flu shot once a year

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and enter your child’s birth date to get a customized shot schedule.

Know What’s Covered

Learn more about what immunizations are covered for your children. And log in to Your Health Alliance or search by your or your child’s member number to see what children’s preventive care your family’s plan covers.

You can use our general preventive care guidelines and prescription drugs to get an idea of what our plans cover.

If you’re not sure what’s covered and what you’ll need a preauthorization for, you can check your coverage and preauthorization lists at Your Health Alliance.

Now that you’re ready for your children’s physicals, log in to Your Health Alliance if you need to set a Primary Care Provider (PCP) for your child or start searching for doctors in our network.

Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week

Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week

Last week was Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. Olympians Michael Phelps and Allison Schmitt helped raise awareness about children’s mental health.

Happy, Healthy Children

 

Your children may seem healthy, but you never know what’s happening in their heads.

 

Community members can help young adults by knowing the signs.

 

You can help a young adult with mental health issues by being a source of support.

 

Communicating with your doctor and family about your mental health is an important lesson to teach your kids. Teach them to share their feelings.

Children and young adults with mental health problems need real care and support.

 

Social health, which could include friendships and bullying, is an important part of your kids’ mental health. Learn more and talk to them.

Their Emotional and Social Support System

Your Bond as a Mother

Vantage Point: Mother Knows Best

“Mother knows best” is a phrase I heard all the time growing up. As a young child, I thought of Mom as the person you would run to after getting hurt to get hugs and kisses. Mom was the one who gave me good night kisses and woke me up with a gentle touch on my forehead.

I never thought how all of these actions benefited me in the future. Of course, being a kid means you are always correct, and Mom has no idea what she is talking about.

As a child, I would start jumping back and forth on furniture, and I would hear my mother say, “Stop jumping. You are going to get hurt.” As a teenager, I would arrive home past my curfew to my mom awake with a worried look on her face. She proceeded to tell me how one day I would understand, when I had my own kids, and I’d have the same worried feeling when I didn’t know where they were.

That day has arrived. I now have a child of my own, and I understand where my mother was coming from 100%. The motherly instinct has kicked in, and I want to keep my child safe all the time. I want to know what my child is doing all the time. I want my child to think of me when he gets hurts. I want to kiss my child good night and wake him up with a gentle touch.

Actions I thought nothing of, I now know were life lessons only a mother can instill in her children. Now, when my child won’t listen to me, I will sound just like my mother: “You’re going to get hurt,” and “One day, you will understand how I feel.”

May is the month when everyone recognizes their mother. We go out and buy her flowers, get the perfect card, take her out for lunch, and pamper her for the day. But why wait for a certain day to pamper our mothers? We have 365 days to let them know how much we appreciate all of the advice and guidance we received and still do receive.

Nowadays, Mom and I love to sit down and laugh at the silly things I did as a kid, as well as the trouble she got into as kid. After all of that, my mom still sits back and says, “Mother knows best.”

Jessica Arroyo, born and raised in Wenatchee Valley, is a Medicare community liaison for Health Alliance, serving Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan counties in Washington. During her time off, she enjoys spending time with her husband and infant son.