October 23, 2014  

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CATCHING UP WITH DEENA CRAWFORD

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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!