Sept. 6, 2022
TO: USC Students
Sarah Van Orman, MD MMD FACHA; Chief Health Officer, USC Student Health, Keck Medicine of USC; Associate Vice Provost; Division Chief for College Health, Keck School of Medicine
Broderick Leaks, PhD, Director of Counseling and Mental Health Services, USC Student Health, Keck Medicine of USC; Vice Chair of College Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences, Keck School of Medicine of USC
Steven Siegel, MD PhD, Franz Alexander Chair in Psychiatry, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences, Keck School of Medicine of USC; Chief Mental Health and Wellness Officer for Keck Medicine of USC
We hope you have had a restful and enjoyable Labor Day weekend. Taking part in enjoyable activities, connecting with people close to you, and taking needed breaks are important to your mental health, and support your overall well-being.
As an academic institution that prides itself on intellectual rigor, USC brings many opportunities for tackling challenging work; this can sometimes also carry unintended stressors. Over the course of this year—or several years, as is the case for students who are pursuing degrees—it is reasonable to expect that at times, we may feel overwhelmed, and even disappointed; or feel the weight of other troubles from different aspects of our lives.
We want you to know that USC values the health and well-being of our community members as our highest priority, and when you need help, resources are available to support you.
As we acknowledge the upcoming World Suicide Prevention Day on Sept. 10, we are sharing some of these resources below, so our entire community can serve as a better-informed safety net for our students, and each other.
- The Jed Foundation’s “Seize the Awkward” campaign helps college students recognize when a friend might need help, and how to respond. A new public service announcement produced by Annenberg students and featuring Trojan Football student-athlete, Caleb Williams, is set to launch this week, and a launch discussion hosted by Dean Willow Bay is scheduled for 2 PM today.
- The self-paced online module “Mental Well-being for Students,” developed in partnership with the Jed Foundation, is available in Trojan Learn (trojanlearn.usc.edu) for all students, and can provide an overview of typical experiences, questions, and tools for self-understanding and resilience.
- The 24/7 phone line for USC Student Health, 213-740-9355 (WELL), can connect students to a counselor after hours or on weekends, even when the health centers are closed.
- Counseling and Mental Health Services of USC Student Health has launched a new website to guide students through available services.
- This summer, the National Suicide Prevention Line launched a three-digit emergency number: 988, that connects callers to network crisis centers across the U.S. Students who prefer to use texting to connect for help can text “TROJAN” to 741741 to connect to a trained volunteer in the Crisis Text Line. These national services are available 24/7.
- The Department of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences is implementing a first-ever screening project for all new incoming students, the My Mental Health Assessment, which invites cohorts of USC students to take an assessment for conditions such as depression, anxiety, substance use disorder and suicidality. This tool will help connect students who have higher acuity to clinical services that can help them.
- For faculty and student support professionals, Counseling and Mental Health Services in USC Student Health has developed updates and resources for the 2022-2023 academic year. The USC Gold Folder can prove to be an especially useful quick sheet for faculty and staff; and the USC Workwell Center is an excellent resource for faculty and staff well-being.
- Each member of the USC community is also reminded that “Trojans Care for Trojans” (TC4T) can be used to find help connecting to resource offices if you are concerned for a student, faculty member, or staff employee and their well-being.
Always remember, help and hope are always available. Asking for help takes strength and courage, and our community is united in offering paths to coping, resilience, and flourishing.