Phone: 805-756-2511 (24/7 support available)
Fax:     805-756-6525

8:30 AM - 4:30 PM | M-F
Building 27

Resources for Parents/Supporters

Supporting a student from far away: 


It can be difficult to be far away when your student is in distress.  Receiving crying phone calls, or non-responsiveness can be unsettling and may lead to feeling helpless.  However, you can also provide helpful and meaningful support to your student even if you can't be present with them in person. 


  1. Show you care:  

    This will be different for each of you.  Maybe it's mailing actual letters or baked goods to your student, or maybe it's leaving a memento in their suitcase or in their residence hall room that reminds them of people who love them.  This could even be a quick text message to say hello or share a silly picture of your dog.  Consistent gestures of care and support can go a long way in cultivating supportive, trusting relationships with your student at a distance.  They may not respond every time, or at all, but demonstrating that you support them no matter what can have a great impact. 

  2. Ask open ended questions: 

    Asking questions like "tell me about your classes right now" or "what was the peak and the pit of your week?" Can stimulate conversation and provide a platform for students to share with you their thoughts, feelings, and accomplishments, as well as the possibility of harder topics or struggles.   

  3. Notice changes in patterns or behaviors: 

    If your student is typically open and talkative, notice if they become more closed off or uninterested in sharing things with you.  If your student typically enjoys learning or engaging in labs, notice if they tell you they're not going to class regularly.  These at times subtle changes in behavior may be cues to your student's emotional life.  Check in with them about the changes, use your observations as  starting point.  Share directly and honestly about your concern and your care for them. Try not to project emotions on to them, but ask what they are feeling or if things have changed for them.  Ask how you can support them. 

  4. Keep in touch: 

    Establish a routine for how you communicate, and also a pathway to share distress.  Maybe for you a phone call once a month is the way to check in and ensure your student is doing okay.  Maybe daily texts are more your style.  Decide together how a student can let you know when they need space, support, or conversation.  And, if a student shares something difficult with you, follow up later on.  Remembering what was shared and asking how they're doing can have a positive impact. 

  5. Consult when you're feeling stuck: 

    Reach out to us if you're noticing concerning behaviors or patterns in your student's experiences.  At Counseling Services, we're here to support you and your student, so feel free to talk with us about what's going on - you can call 805-756-2511 any time of day.  We can't provide any information about a student's treatment or use of services here due to confidentiality rules, but we can receive information from you, consult with you about your next steps, or talk with you about what students in general experience in the college setting. 

  6. And, connect with other parents or supporters: 

    You are not alone!  Consider the resources in the Parent and Family Program.


Local resources to know: 



Campus Police 

(805) 756-2281 or 
911 on campus 

Campus Police Non-Emergency 

(805) 756-2222 


(805) 545-8888 

Dean of Students 

(805) 756-0327 

Central Coast Hotline 

(800) 783-0607 

SLO County Mental Health 

(805) 781-4700 

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