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How to support your Bulldog during this challenging time

I’ve said this numerous times to students, family, and friends—these are weird times we find ourselves in. As I go through my day to day there’s times everything feels normal and then there’s times everything feels wrong. I hear the same from students. They are confused, angry, happy, unsure, and every other emotion you can think of. What makes responding to COVID-19 so challenging is that this situation is extreme, unpredictable, and prolonged. I’ve said to students numerous times, just do the best you can during this difficult time. As a parent and caregiver of your Bulldog I know you also want them to do the best they can—I hope these tips help you support your student in doing just that.

Let them be upset

You don’t have to fix this for them. We never want to see our student upset, but part of the grieving process is holding space for your student to be upset. Brene Brown has a great video about not silver lining bad situations. If your student talks about how they feel, just listen and be empathetic—that can be one of the most helpful things you do. Empathy can be hard, so please watch this short video to learn more.

School is not out for summer

Although it feels that way—students still have class responsibilities. In some cases, they may have more work to do in a remote class. This is a huge adjustment; it is like starting a whole new semester. It may take time for them to adjust. Give them space and encouragement. Having a designated work area can be helpful for students to get into their “work” mode. Creating structure and a schedule is also helping. I like to have students create book ends—something to start and end their day with. In a world where everything changes, having things you can in fact control, is very helpful.

Encourage them to connect

Encourage physical distancing, but not social distancing. Your student may feel isolated right now. Encourage them to use FaceTime or other video chats to connect with their friends. That will help establish normalcy and consistency and reduce feelings of isolation.

Encourage them to ask for help

The counseling center is still a support for your student!
Below are options your student can utilize to support their mental health:

  • If your student is in Iowa, we can meet via telehealth counseling through Microsoft Teams.
  • If your student is outside the state of Iowa, we can talk with them on the phone or video chat and consult on how they are doing, what support they need, give them tools to cope, and talk about resources where you are currently residing.

We are also offering the following online groups:

The Anxiety Support Group meets weekly on Tuesdays, at 4:00pm.
Your student can access it through Zoom by going to the below link and using the provided ID and password.
Meeting ID: 957 176 049
Password: 335011

The Adjustment Support Group meets weekly on Thursdays, at 3:30pm.
Your student can access it through Zoom by going to the below link and using the provided ID and password.
Meeting ID: 578 431 398
Password: 351002

Wednesday, April 1st, we are also hosting a webinar on Mindfulness and Self-Care.
Your student can access it through Zoom by going to the below link and using the provided ID and password.
Meeting ID: 813 505 811

And lastly, be compassionate with yourself and your student as you both navigate this unprecedented time. If you have questions or concerns about your student’s mental health, you can always email me at or call at 515-271-4526.

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