Health & Wellness

Roadmap to resources: how to get mental health help on campus

Navigating all the mental health resources USC offers.

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Managing your mental health can sometimes be a challenge. So, Annenberg Media has created a guide to make finding resources at USC easy.

Dr. Broderick Leaks, the director of counseling and mental health at USC, a licensed clinical psychologist and the vice chair for student mental health in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, says there is a multitude of resources available to USC students, and it’s easy to access them.

USC recently completely revamped its website to increase user ability of counseling and mental health services. Although Leaks explained that USC is “well above the national benchmark for students utilizing services,” with about 16 to 20% of its students using counseling and mental health services, USC hopes that number will continue to grow.

A recent study found that as many as half of all college students nationwide report mental health distress, but not all of them are seeking help. The process can be overwhelming for students so this step-by-step guide will help them navigate the resources available.

“These resources are trying to provide students with the right service, right place, right time and right person delivering it,” Leaks said.

Students can visit USC’s counseling and mental health services website, which has an array of options. Students can also speak to a healthcare professional at 213-740-9355 to discuss service options. Here are some of the options available to people seeking these resources:

1. For students looking for traditional therapy options, start with an individual intake assessment, where counselors are available to talk one-on-one through both telehealth and in-person appointments. From here, you can create a treatment plan, which may include being referred to short-term therapy to work through situations with people working through a similar situation, or weekly group counseling. There are groups for common concerns such as depression, panic disorder, ADHD, social anxiety, eating disorders and more.

The addition of embedded counselors also provides clinical support within your specific school. Right now USC offers embedded counseling services for students in Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the School of Architecture, the Gould School of Law, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the School of Cinematic Arts. These resources also help USC to understand and communicate mental health needs by department.

2. Are you not ready to commit to full-time therapy sessions, but have something you want to talk through? USC has two great options— Let’s Talk and Solution Sessions.

Let’s Talk

Let’s Talk is a 30-minute session with a Counseling and Mental Health clinician. This is a great “intro to therapy” session where students can work on building resiliency skills and problem solving.

Solution Sessions

Solution sessions are single 50-minute sessions with a therapist to focus on an unexpected situation that has occurred in a student’s life. For those struggling to balance school, social life and extracurricular activities, a therapist can help provide some perspective during this session.

3. To combat longer waiting times USC partnered with Uwill Therapy as part of their Therapy+ option. This is a telehealth company that focuses on college students, providing students the ability to see their service providers within 24 to 48 hours.

4. Not looking to talk face-to-face with a counselor? As part of Therapy+, USC students have the option to text with a responder through Oasis Chat. Oasis chat is available for all USC students and provides options to chat, learn new skills for stress management or journal with guided prompts and set goals.

5. Interested in working specifically with a BIPOC or LGBTQ+ professional? USC also offers an entire mental health service community for those interested in working specifically with clinicians who are supportive, culturally informed, and have “posture of cultural humility” in their work. While they offer the same services as the traditional clinicians, you have the option to select a clinician with a similar identity. This includes people of Black or African descent, API and Desi Americans, Latinx and/or Chicanx, LGBTQ+, religious services and international services.

6. For students not interested in therapy, but are instead just looking to generally increase their “mental health toolkit,” USC offers a wide variety of workshops such as, “Anxiety Toolbox,” “Increase your emotional intelligence,” “Stress less” and more.

Lastly, for those who need immediate help, there is a 24/7 crisis support line that students can call or text. There is also an option to walk into the Engemann Student Health Center on the day of and be seen immediately for emergencies.