Deena Crawford has been named director of The University of Southern Mississippi’s Student Counseling Services (SCS) after serving in the position on an interim basis.
As director, Crawford is responsible for the day-to-day operations of SCS, which is headquartered in the Division of Student Affairs. She oversees its clinical services and outreach education, and its collaboration with other student and academic affairs departments to enhance students’ educational experiences through the promotion of excellence in mental health.
Her prior administrative experience includes grant writing and management of educational outreach for the Shafer Center for Crisis Intervention Center in Hattiesburg, for which she serves as secretary for its board of directors.
“I’m truly honored to receive this appointment,” Crawford said. “My affiliation with Student Affairs has been a rewarding experience because I work with wonderful people here. I’m excited to be a part of the tradition of delivering great counseling services on our campus.’
Crawford began working as a counselor for SCS in 2005, and then served in the role of program administrator in 2007 until her recent move to directorship. She is also project director for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) Suicide Prevention grant that provides mental health training and prevention on the Southern Miss campus.
A Jackson native, Crawford earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Southern Miss and taught high school English and creative writing at Oak Grove High School before returning to Southern Miss for her master’s degree in social work.
Prior to joining the SCS staff, she was a clinical therapist with Pine Grove Addiction and Behavioral Services in Hattiesburg, working with adolescents, eating disorders, addictions, and professionals in crisis. She continues to serve as a training and development speaker for Pine Grove.
Crawford currently is chair of the Southern Miss CARE team, a student-centered approach to providing services to students with mental health issues and behaviors that interrupt the learning environment. Under Crawford’s leadership, CARES earned the IHL award for the state’s Best Practice in Student Affairs in 2009.
“We are pleased to have someone with the abilities of Ms. Crawford fill this important directorship. She brings a wealth of skill and experience to this position,” said Southern Miss Dean of Students Dr. Eddie Holloway.
Crawford also chairs the Campus Mental Health Coalition, co-chairs the Southern Mississippi Campus Council for Alcohol Abuse Prevention and is an adjunct faculty member in the School of Social Work. She is currently pursuing her L.C.S.W. certification as she continues counseling students at SCS.
SCS offers a wide variety of services to students, including individual counseling, group counseling and couples counseling. Outreach and consultations services are available for students, faculty and staff. Its services are free and confidential.
Students often seek help coping with feelings of depression; low self-confidence/self-esteem; feelings of anxiety; fear of failure; inappropriate expression of anger; relationship concerns; sexuality issues; time management; substance use/abuse; coping with past or recent trauma; eating behaviors; grief/loss issues; or thoughts of harm to self or others.
For more information about SCS, call 601.266.4829; online visit http://www.usm.edu/counseling/services/services.html
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.