The privacy rules for college students are, in general, a good thing. They prevent a lot of colleges from sharing too much information about individual students, and having that information abused. FERPA also prevents colleges from even sharing information with parents without the permission of the student. Again, that can be a very good thing, but it can also mean the school is unable to talk to parents when the student is having a mental health crisis. These are a couple of ides from the lengthy article that might help:
There are at least two good ways around limitations colleges face about notifying parents. One is for students to grant college administrators, in advance of any difficulty, permission to contact parents without delay if they are in academic or emotional trouble. The other is for a concerned friend to alert the parents or a trusted family member; no permission is required if the student has provided contact information
Both aren’t bad ideas, but they do require planning ahead. In the midst of a mental health crises, I can’t see many students agreeing to have their parents notified. They would need to make that decisions ahead of time, and either give the college permission to notify parents if there is a mental health problem, or trust their friends to do the same.
Both require being connected to resources and friends enough for them to notice there is a problem. Staying connected is one of the things we are least likely to do in the midst of a crises though, so it’s vital that we have this support system in place ahead of time. Even if you don’t think you’re at risk.
That’s something all of us should do, not just students.