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DS in final year at university having a breakdown. Advice pease(22 Posts)
My DS is in his final year of university far away from home. Found out he was struggling a couple of days and we have got him back home with us last night. He is not talking much but it seems from the little he's saying that it's been brewing for quite some weeks. He hasn't left his house in a week and has not been sleeping or eating.The picture looks very much like depression and I will try to get him a doctor's appointment today.
We will obviously need to have contact with his university and hopefully put things on hold for a while. I'm not sure how we go about this or who we contact. If anyone could possibly advise on this I would be really grateful. Do we need a drs certificate? Also, are we able to do this on his behalf?
I'm worried about him but he's obviously not the first person to go through this. I just happy he's her with us now.
I am so sorry you are going through this.
No expert, but I would suggest looking at the uni website and looking for student support services- they should have contact details. Also if you know his department have a look for department admin, or contact details for his tutor if you know who it is.
If you give his course Hub a call they will tell you who to contact and what you need to do. They can only give you general information but will point you in the right direction.
I had great counselling for at university, ask him to access that. He needs to go to Student Services or Personal Tutor or whoever to talk about his course.
Personally I would try to get him to push on with his final year (if he reasonably can!) as it might be harder.to not complete the course without his peers and lead to him dropping out. This is not definite of course, you know your son best, but I would encourage mind to plod on (with lots and lots and lots of support) in the first instance. If its more serious , self harm, suicidal thoughts, I would defer the year and take some time out.
Good luck. He will be ok..glad he opened up to you - he is brave for that and shows you have a great relationship.
I had similar in my final year. I didn't attend uni into the UK, so not entirely sure how it would work, but i was able to spread out the rest of my courses (so did two at a time instead of four) and finished my degree a little later than expected. It all worked out fine in the end. Is there a student welfare department you could contact in the first instance for advice? It sounds like you're doing a brilliant job for your son.
Than you all for the advice. I'll give student welfare a call this afternoon and take it from there. I am trying to get hold of our family GP at the moment for an appointment.
I am relieved he has opened up to us although the information he is giving is sparse. I think the has been sitting on this for quite a while but then finally cracked and contacted me.
Make contact with student welfare/support at his university and his personal tutor or a senior tutor in his department. Keep up contact with GP and make sure she/he listens to the details if his circumstances. If you & your son don't feel that this is going to be fixed quickly the best option is likely to be a leave of absence from university. Be aware that this cones with conditions: he would have to provide medical evidence that he is fit to resume his studies next year and he would probably have to start the final year again from the beginning.
Try to make sure he understands how important this health is and that one year is really a very short time.
I hope he's feeling better soon.
...comes with conditions. Not cones...
...his health. Not this...
I hate touchscreen keyboards.
HarryTheSteppenwolf thank you for your input!
Indeed his health comes first. I've managed to get him an appointment today. It's a group practice and I only hope the GO he's seeing is one of the more sensitive ones (some are better than others). They will have to be able to drag information out of him to some extent as he's very quiet right now, possibly frightened about the whole thing
I am really pleased that he has confided in you, that is a big step for him to admit to himself that he needs help. Too many young men keep it too themselves and are not good at communicating and expressing their feelings. I hope you get the right doctor today and your son can start moving forward.
Op, as you will know the final year is the hardest.
I'd also look to explore with him how he is finding the work, from how much is involved, through to the complexity of it. Sometimes when someone is struggling with what's involved it can cause anxiety and what you are seeing, so not depression as such. More an inability to cope with it and a fear of failure. If there is something there, then how has he worked with his tutors etc to get help.
I'd also look at his social life. Has something occurred there that has caused him upset.
Sometimes exploring thr root cause maybe beneficial. He may be scared to tell you he is feeling overwhelmed with the work for example.
bluntness that's really sound advice. Thank you.
He has now had an appointment with the GP and has been prescribed antidepressants. I have got a contact for a CBT counsellor through a friend that I will hopefully contact.
Student welfare has advised to register himself unwell on their portal. He can apparently also access counseling through them. That way he will have support when he goes back I suppose.
Gosh, it's so hard when university is so far from where we live.
We could take him there at the end of next week to see the welfare people. There's no way I would leave him there as he is at the moment though.
Meercat has he had a blood test, to check for any deficiencies, B12, iron, Vitamin D. I say this because I remember feeling terrible at this time of year, two years ago, and it turned out to be a vitamin deficiency. for me it ws Vit D; which my teenage son also suffered from when I had him tested (he was refusing to get out of bed or engage at that point in his A levels) It is the lowest point in the year for Vitamin D related deficiencies. You can treat it with a 10,000 Iu over the counter, I instantly felt a lot better. and so did son when he was diagnosed, and given supplements by Gp. No anti depressants needed, not that I'm knocking them.
Just in case you hadn't considered this.
son and I had other reasons for feeling low too, but it was just that the vitamin deficiency tipped us over and made it unbearable, impossible to cope with. CBT was also good and all the talking, reflecting solutions too.
My DS has had similar recently. I've got a post somewhere in on the HE board. He's a first year and is miles away from home too. He was meant to go back after Xmas but broke down the night before and we just couldn't send him back. He missed an exam too which necessitated a Drs letter to claim extenuating circumstances.
I got in touch with student welfare and explained the situation and whilst they wouldn't divulge personal information without his permission, they did give me advice as to what could happen if he took a break, dropped out etc. They also contacted DS independently too. DS has now gone back, although whether he'll stay or not I don't know. He saw student services this week and they've offered counselling which I hope he'll take.
It's so hard as a parent to deal with issues like MH, particularly when they are far away. You've definitely made the right decision in getting him home. I hope it all works out and your DS gets the help he needs.
Dd's friend was in similar situation. was ok up to this year but has mostly been absent or not able to do any work this year due to depresion. Uni have signed them off and can start y3 again in September. Maybe your ds uni will do something similar.
I had some really good advice too OP on my thread.
Need some urgent advice - DS Uni. http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/higher_education/3476854-need-some-urgent-advice
later when you have time
you should be aware of the "fit to sit" rules at his particular university
which basically mean that if a student presents for an exam or submits a piece of work then they are agreeing that they are fit and well enough to sit the exam and it is usually too late to say that they were ill afterwards.
if they miss a deadline then usually there is time limit for submitting a request for extension.
You can imagine why they have these rules.
your son is lucky to have such supportive parents,
So much good advice. Thank you.
lurky I'll have a look at your thread too.
ruthieness the fit to sit I will definitely look into.
So much to take in right now, it all feels a bit overwhelming but we will get there
Meercat2 I'm sorry your DS is going through this. I've had six DC go through uni and I have to say that this is exactly the time frame that a lot of finalists do seem to feel overwhelmed and the need to take a break. Bluntness gave good advice. The vast majority, if they really do need a break, return at the same time a year later to start again, with no serious ill effect.
Obviously I don't mean to minimize and it may be more than the feeling of being overwhelmed - I just intended to say that this is just the time of the academic year when finalists do seem to feel the keenest pressure.
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