Welcome to Parents

One of the challenges of having your daughter in college is the shift in responsibilities in the area of health. You have been there for the well child visits, comforted after the immunizations, waited through the Emergency room trips for sutures, x-rays and bumps on the head and held cool cloths to the forehead for fevers and upset stomachs.

Now she is “off to college”. She will continue her physical and emotional growth and development as she continues her academic journey. In the area of health, steps in the journey include knowing when to ask for help or seek health care, learning skills that will maintain physical and emotional health and developing strategies to manage stress, develop new relationships and identities and promote sleep and nutrition.

While most students will readily make this transition, many find times when it is challenging and possibly overwhelming. Annually, 80-85% of our students utilize our medical/nursing services and 25% seek support from the Counseling Services. Our experience shows that being a Mount Holyoke student requires significant physical and emotional energy, strong organizational skills and confidence to seek and utilize campus resources. A significant acute illness or injury or ongoing chronic illnesses may challenge even the best of students.

Our resources are both comprehensive and limited. Early contact from your daughter will provide the best opportunity for finding the appropriate support for her, either on or off campus. Some of our goals in working with your daughter are:

  • Provide quality health care in response to a full range of acute concerns
  • Assist in the management of chronic illness and ongoing health concerns
  • Involve her in decision making regarding treatment options
  • Provide information and skills that can help her make health and lifestyle choices to reduce risk of illness and injury.

Within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, individuals 18 years and older are responsible for providing consent for their own treatment and assume control regarding sharing of their health information. We welcome the opportunity to hear from you with questions and concerns, but your daughter will be our patient. It is important that your daughter know that all information shared with us will be held confidentially, consistent with state and federal regulations. Your daughter will need to provide us with a signed release to allow us to share any health information with you or anyone outside of our immediate health and counseling staff.

I encourage you and your daughter to review the range of services that are available to all students at Mount Holyoke. Particularly review the information regarding health insurance options very carefully and confirm your current insurance coverage for specialty and mental health services in the immediate South Hadley area. I welcome the opportunity to answer questions or discuss your daughter’s health concerns. You can call me at 413-538-2170 or email Karen Engell.

Please review the list of self-care items that students find helpful to have in their rooms. A copy of her insurance card and a thermometer lead the list. Again my staff and I are available to you and your daughter.


Karen B. Engell
Director of College Health Services