Students Encouraged to Use Free Mental Health Screenings
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Contact Van Arnold - 601.266.5568   


With another hectic fall semester fast approaching, mental health professionals at The University of Southern Mississippi want to help lower the stress level for all new and returning students.

To that end Student Counseling Services is offering a free, anonymous online mental health self-assessment that might assist students in indentifying the symptoms of anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, relationship issues and alcohol-related problems.

Additionally, Student Counseling Services has six licensed mental healthcare providers on staff with a wide range of training. The counseling services are available from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and an after-hours emergency counselor is on call by phone at 601.606.HELP.

“Transition to college life can be overwhelming for both traditional and non-traditional students,” said Deena Crawford, director of Student Counseling Services at Southern Miss. “Counseling sessions offer a neutral perspective from a trained professional to learn new coping skills in order to decrease stress. Having almost an hour to talk about your own issues is a luxury in our fast-paced world.”

Crawford noted that 1,421 students came through the counseling offices in 2009 seeking psychological services. In addition more than 300 students, parents, faculty and staff requested consultations regarding students who might be a threat to themselves.

National statistics show that suicide is the second-leading cause of death among college students, trailing only automobile accidents. Oftentimes, students may feel lost, lonely, confused, anxious, inadequate and stressed as the pressure of college life builds. According to the Web site www.suicide.org, untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide.

“We try to encourage dialogue about these issues every semester, focusing mainly on prevention in classrooms and special events but when these ‘issues’ become actual people who are dead, it is heartbreaking to see how many people are hurt, confused or angry by the ripple effect of suicide and drunk-driving,” said Crawford. “It does actually increase the number of people we see at the counseling center because students need help sorting out their feelings and search for understanding.”

For more information about Student Counseling Services at Southern Miss, call 601-266-4829. To take the free mental health screening assessment visit: www.mentalhealthscreening.org/screening/SOUTHERNMISS

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.