Don't neglect to talk health care before your teen leaves the nest.

If your child is graduating from high school and heading off to college in the fall, it’s time to consider what it means to be a long-distance parent—and the parent of an adult. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages families to discuss their student’s post-graduation plans with their pediatrician and to make sure measures are in place to address any physical or mental health needs. 

Parents also need to recognize that once their child turns 18, they will no longer have access to his or her academic and health records. Regular communication will be important to help maintain strong ties, the AAP says.

The organization also provides the following advice:

Make sure your child has medical coverage after high school and knows how to use it. In many cases, children can be enrolled on their parents’ health insurance through age 25.  Talk to your pediatrician to verify your child is up to date on recommended vaccines and preventive care. The doctor also can help parents support their child’s mental/emotional health.  Research the health and mental health support services on campus and ensure your child understands them. Develop a plan to cover your teenager’s mental health needs, if applicable, before he or she moves out. If your incoming freshman has a diagnosed mental health issue, check with the campus’s health center to make sure the necessary information is on file. Talk to college officials about the school’s accommodations for teens with ADHD.

For more tips and student-centered advice, go to healthychildren.org/english/ages-stages/young-adult/pages/mental-health-tips-for-teens-graduating-from-high-school.aspx.