Deena Crawford serves as the director of Student Counseling Services at The University of Southern Mississippi. Recently, Crawford took a few moments to reflect on her current responsibilities and outside interests in a question-and-answer format.
Q: What is your hometown and educational background?
A: I was born in Jackson, Mississippi and I graduated from Jackson Murrah High School. I have an undergraduate degree in English and a master’s degree from Southern Miss.
Q: How many years have you been employed at Southern Miss and how did you get started here?
A: I have worked here since August 2005. I originally came here to “slow down.” What a joke! This turned out to be the busiest job I’ve ever had.
Q: How would you describe the job you do here at Southern Miss?
A: This is the perfect job for me – difficult every day. I get to practice my clinical skills and interact with great college students, helping them adjust to college life and learn new coping skills. And I get to work with very creative Student Affairs professionals as we provide a living/learning environment that is rich with good experiences to enhance their education. I love being a part of student development.
Q: How many counselors and psychologists do you have on staff?
A: We have one psychologist and three staff members currently. We will hire a part-time counselor in July, hopefully.
Q: What is the most common condition/issue your staff sees?
A: Anxiety. Students are stressed by the transition to college, lots of responsibilities, finances, the future. Non-traditional students have even more responsibilities. Then, depression. We also have more students with severe mental illnesses – schizophrenia, bipolar, Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism spectrum -- coming to college because of the availability of psychiatric drugs. Eating disorders and alcohol and drug abuse are also common on college campuses.
Q: What are the office hours and are the counselors available 24/7?
A: Our office hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. but there is emergency access to counselors around the clock.
Q:Why did you want to enter this line of work?
A: I love people and their stories. It is a privilege to be beside someone as they figure out their story and decide their own ending. People are incredible.
Q: Your job involves a fair amount of stress. How do you like to unwind?
A:I love to laugh. My friends are very important to me, as well as my family.
Q: What is your idea of a perfect day?
A: A sunny, breezy day with good friends, family, food and football!