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Information and resources for parents and family members
The transition to college is an important time for students and their loved ones. UW–Madison takes the health and safety of your student seriously and our relationship with you is a critical partnership in supporting your student’s academic success and fostering a rich and rewarding undergraduate experience.
Before your student comes to campus
- Read the student entrance letter.
- Talk with your student about alcohol consumption, sexual assault, and healthy choices, and read our parent guidebook Navigating College Culture.
- Review immunizations and ensure that your student is up to date
- Ensure that your student fills out their Immunization and Health History Form
- Ensure that your student has completed the required alcohol and sexual violence prevention programs.
- Questions? Call 608-265-5600
What to pack
We know you have a lot to pack, but don't forget these health essentials
- Health insurance card (and prescription medication card, if separate)
- Names and phone numbers of home primary care and specialty care providers
- Prescription medicines and refill information
- Pain reliever: ibuprofen and/or naproxen
- Fever reducer: acetaminophen
- Throat lozenges
- Antihistamine for allergy relief
- Basic first-aid supplies: adhesive bandages, antibacterial ointment, hydrocortisone cream
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Lip balm
- Ice pack and heating pad
Advance directive information
UHS medical and mental health records are protected by federal law. UHS does not disclose information to parents or guardians for students over the age of 18 without the student’s consent. Students have the right to receive information about and assistance with advance directives and designating someone (known as a health care power of attorney) to make health care decisions for them in the event that they are unable. Being a Designated Agent for Advance Directives or Health Care Power of Attorney does not automatically allow access to the medical records. Learn more about Advance Directives >>>
We are often asked if the student can sign a “blanket” release of information form and our answer is no. In health care matters, such prospective (advance) releases are not legally defensible and can be revoked by the student at any time. For more information on confidentiality, please see the health information page.
Mental health support
In addition to providing direct services to students, UHS Mental Health Services are a resource to parents, roommates, and friends who may be concerned about a student or who want more information on a particular mental health issue.
Concerns may include suicidal thoughts or actions, self-injury, anxiety, depression, domestic violence or stalking, sexual assault, psychotic symptoms, substance abuse, eating disorders and situational crises related to academic performance, relationships, transition, and other difficulties.
Our staff are a resource to campus partners including faculty and staff members in academic units as well as campus offices to help address wellness and mental health issues that arise.
Our 24-hour mental health crisis services are available to students in distress as well as people concerned about a student.
Conversations about alcohol, sexual assault, and mental health
With your student entering college, your role and relationship will change. This is a great time to begin, or continue, conversations about alcohol choices, consent, sexual assault, and your student’s mental health and well-being. In this guide, we discuss ways to help your student prepare for new challenges they may encounter during their college career.
Navigating College Culture [a parent/family handbook]