Parent Resources

Student with parents

The mission of the Rockhurst University Counseling Center is to enhance students' academic success and personal development in a warm, supportive, and confidential environment that celebrates the uniqueness of each person. If you are viewing this page, it is likely that you are a family member or friend who is concerned about the well-being of a Rockhurst student. Consistent with the University's core value of caring for the whole person, we provide individual counseling, academic support (organization/time-management skills), life coaching, consultation, and limited assessment services. We are staffed by three licensed psychologists and one part-time doctoral graduate student. Meet the staff of the Rockhurst University Counseling Center.

Role of the University Counseling Center

Our intent is to help students successfully navigate the normal, and sometimes unexpected, challenges of emerging adulthood. Whether that be homesickness and adapting to college, learning to better manage stress and function independently, dealing with difficult relationship issues, or more long-term mental health issues like depression, anxiety, overcoming trauma, or eating disorders, the staff of the counseling center is here to help. Recognizing that we are working with young adults, our role is not to tell them what to do. Oftentimes, students want quick and easy answers to difficult or complex concerns. The reality is that usually there are no easy answers. Struggling through challenges provides a context for strengthening resilience, building a foundation of personal commitment, and learning to lean into the resources around them. In short, transformation from the pseudo-independence of the typical incoming freshman into an emerging adult who is aware of his/her strengths and weaknesses, who finds and appropriately uses social, academic, and financial resources, and who is increasingly grounded - experiencing the world as it is while striving to use the gifts and talents to pursue the passions God has instilled in him/her.

How We Help Students

All currently enrolled students at Rockhurst University are eligible for free psychological services at the counseling center. Our staff works with students towards managing personal, career and educational concerns which may interfere with their academic progress. Most students are seen for weekly appointments lasting between 30-50 minutes. On average, students are able to address their concerns in three to seven sessions. Oftentimes, students will use our services episodically during their years at Rockhurst. If longer-term services are most appropriate, we will work with the student to establish goals and a treatment plan or determine if he/she would be better served by a specialist in the community. If desired, we can assist in providing community referrals.

The counseling center and other campus and community resources can provide support services to assist students in pursuing their goals. However, it is important to have realistic expectations regarding what the University and surrounding community can provide. The counseling center provides therapy and support services primarily during extended business hours (8 a.m.–6 p.m.); however, after-hours availability and emergency services are limited. We have no way to make sure students are taking their medications, and do not make wake-up calls to get them up in the morning in time for class.

Consulting With Parents

If you have questions or concerns about your student, the psychologists in the counseling center are available to speak with you. They can assist you in assessing the situation and its seriousness, and in making a referral. A consultation may help you identify ways you can be most effective with your student, and in locating campus resources that you can suggest to him/her. Please know that if your student is receiving services in the counseling center, we will not able to provide information about these services due to our adherence to client confidentiality (unless there is a signed release of information).

Help Resources

Help! I Need Somebody! What to do when your child is struggling

Call it a parent’s intuition, but you know when it’s time to ask, “What’s wrong?”  and you know how to help.  Yet, when your child is away at school, you may not be able to step in so easily and help make things right. Don’t worry! There are plenty of folks on campus to help your student, no matter what the problem is.


If your child is struggling with her classes, ask if he/she has spoken with any of the following people:

  • Professors know the material better than anyone, so why not go straight to the source?  Ask if he/she has visited the professor after class or during office hours.
  • Perhaps the professor has made arrangements with the Learning Center to provide supplemental instruction (SI), taught by a tutor who has experience with the subject matter.
  • Check with the Learning Center about tutors for specific classes.  They are usually older students who have aced the class and can help explain the material in a different way than the professor. They can also help student anticipate what material will be covered on the test, and how best to prepare.
  • If your child was diagnosed with a learning disability prior to coming to college, suggest that he/she contact Mindy Pettegrew in the Office of Access Services. He/she may be entitled to additional support services that enhance his/her performance.


If your child is having a problem with his/her roommate, encourage him/her to talk to the roommate. Often times, small things are ignored too long and turn into bigger problems.

  • If your child is having difficulty resolving issues on his own, encourage him to talk with Residence Life staff. They are trained in mediation and can help roommates come to a compromise.
  • If things just aren’t working out between roommates, connect with the housing office to explore options for changing roommates next semester.

Emotional Health

College can be stressful and this is likely the first time your child is dealing with things “on his/her own.” It is quite common for students to feel overwhelmed and be uncertain about what they should do.  If you think it would be valuable for her to speak with someone on campus, consider recommending one of the following:

  • Director of New Students. If it is your child’s first semester at college, this is a great place to start. 
  • The campus Counseling Center offers licensed professionals who specialize in the emotional and mental health issues of college students.
  • Campus Ministry provides a range of services and can be a great support for those who are struggling with issues related to their faith and emerging identity.

Campus Resources

Web Resources For Families

Ulifeline is an anonymous, Internet-based resource that provides students with a non-threatening and supportive link to their college mental health center. Ulifeline uniquely combines the following features into one web site and serves as students' one-stop online resource for mental health information. Ulifeline complements and enhances the existing offerings of your mental health center.

The JED Foundation’s mission is: Promoting emotional health and preventing suicide among college and university students. This website link provides parents with programs, tools and resources to support the emotional needs of their college-aged children.

"College Parents of America (CPA) is the only national membership association dedicated to helping parents prepare and put their children through college easily, economically and safely. Today, college parents represent an estimated 12 million households. An additional 24 million households are currently saving and otherwise preparing children for college. CPA is a resource, an advisor and an advocate working on behalf of these millions of families."

PFLAG (Parents, Families, Friends of Lesbians and Gays) offers general information about issues facing GLBT individuals and how their loved ones may assist and advocate for them.

Parents and Loved Ones of Sexual Abuse and Rape Survivors
Friends and family of people who have been sexually abused give tips on how you can help them through. Also provides some insight from survivors.

National Resource Center for First-Year Experience and Students in Transition

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)
NAMI is a nonprofit, grassroots, self-help, support and advocacy organization of consumers, families, and friends of people with severe mental illnesses”.