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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 Counseling Center for a consultation with a clinician.

The Counseling 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 Counseling 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 Counseling 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 Counseling 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. Limited in-person services are available.
  • 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 SSP for immediate referral assistance, or a student may schedule an Initial Consultation by calling the Counseling Center. a Center clinician can work with them to locate private care that is maximally accessible, appropriate, and affordable.
  • More detailed answers to some most frequently asked questions can be found at: Frequently Asked Questions About On-Campus Counseling

The following handouts and links offer some guidelines for helping students in distress. You are also invited to call the Counseling 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 Counseling 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. 
  • 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 about Counseling Center resources click on the links on the left-hand panel of this page. And follow us on social media for updates and useful tips!