Taking care of your mental health in college can be one of the hardest, but most beneficial things you can do in your time at UT Southern. To help support your success in college, it’s important to prioritize your mental health — look out for on-campus supports, social connections and opportunities to engage with our community.
Counseling, Therapy, Mental Health Support
Free, professional, counseling services are available to all currently enrolled UT Southern students. Our Campus Counselor, Desiree Stone, meets with students to respond to crises, build skills, and to listen.
Desiree Stone, MEd
To schedule an appointment with Desiree, text or email. Sessions are available in person at the Clinic, or via a confidential, secure virtual platform.
Reminders from the Counselor
Struggling with mental health looks different on everyone. Some change behavior drastically, either becoming withdrawn or more extravagant than usual when their demeanor is usually quite different. But some people continue life appearing quite normal and unchanged. Knowing yourself, and knowing your friends, is an important step in making sure you and those around you have the support you all need.
How do I know when I need professional help? When it interferes with living your best life, or reaching your goals, seek help. Text 844-986-6946.
Sessions are free, confidential, voluntary, and all about you. Our first session usually consists of paperwork, psychoeducation, and getting to know you. After that, we meet as needed or assist in linking student with resources. The most common issues at UT Southern are anxiety or stress, grief issues, adjustment issues and depression.
Desiree also hosts conversations and workshops, which you can find on YouTube.
Support and Allies
Sometimes students need professional counseling services, and sometimes, they just need a shoulder to lean on. Our faculty and staff are always happy to listen and connect students to additional resources as needed. A few great contacts for students looking for support are below:
|Sarah Catherine |
|Dean of Studentsfirstname.lastname@example.org||2nd Floor; Student Life Center|
|Matthew Little||Student Success |
|email@example.com||2nd Floor; Colonial Hall|
|Brandie Paul||Athletic Directorfirstname.lastname@example.org||Curry Athletic Complex|
|Pat Ford||Director of FYEemail@example.com||200 Johnston Center|
Mental Health Events
- Mid-week, mid-morning Meditation – The campus mental health counselor invites you to mid-morning meditations every Wednesday at 9:30 in the meditation room in Criswell. Come and reset yourself in the middle of the week. (30 min approx.)
- Recovery Groups – Every Wednesday, at noon, bring your lunch, coffee provided. All welcome who are in Recovery or care for someone struggling with recovery. Approx. one hour long, in the meditation room in Criswell.
Mental Health in College
The National Alliance on Mental Illness reminds us that, while college can be emotionally challenging, it’s still possible to enjoy the experience and grow from it.
If You Have No Experience with Mental Health Challenges
Even those who have not experienced mental health problems in the past should begin to think ahead and take steps to help ease the emotional challenges of being in college.
Establishing a self-care routine and healthy habits can make a big difference. Whether you are living at home, in a residence hall or in an off-campus apartment with others, getting adequate sleep, maintaining good nutrition and engaging in regular exercise will help keep your mind and body in good condition. Making time for hobbies and social activities can also help you maintain a positive mood. With new demands and responsibilities, finding a good balance and keeping a regular schedule can be very helpful.
Copyright © 2022 NAMI.
If You Have a Diagnosis or History of Mental Health Challenges
Before college, most young people receive health care through their family’s health insurance and primary care providers, and parents or guardians will often be involved in care decisions. When you turn 18, you gain more control and privacy regarding your health care. For example, your health care providers cannot share your health information with parents, guardians or anyone else without your permission (except in rare circumstances). You can find more info on this topic in NAMI’s college guide.
It’s important to ensure continuity of care if you have a mental health condition and are moving away to start school. It can be helpful to consider how you will continue your treatment, your options for finding new care (should you need it) and how/when you are comfortable sharing information about your health with family or others in your support system.
Developing A Plan For Treatment
Having a clear plan for how you will manage your mental health care when you get to UT Southern ise essential to support your wellness or recovery, ensure your safety and maximize your success. Starting college when you already have a mental health condition might feel scary, but a pre-existing diagnosis does not necessarily increase the risk of struggling academically.
We offer free, confidential counseling here on campus. It is designed to serve as short-term talk therapy or acute care/crisis service, but we can help you find local clinicians for long-term care! Many students also find that their home therapist is now able to continue working with them through a telehealth format, or help them find providers and support options in our area.
Developing A Crisis Plan
In addition to planning for your ongoing or “maintenance” mental health treatment, it is also helpful to consider how you might deal with emerging problems or crises. Have a discussion with your current provider, your family and others in your support network, and consider putting your plan in writing. Every plan is individualized, but common elements include:
- Contact information for your current mental health providers
- A list of current medications (including dosage)
- Contact information for your pharmacy
- Notes on your medical history, including physical health conditions
- Your preferences for who the school should contact — and under what circumstances
It’s important to remember that mental health symptoms are unpredictable — no one plans to have a crisis, and it can be unpleasant to think about, but the best time to develop a crisis plan is when you are doing well.
Starting college is a major life transition, and even the best plans may need adjustments as you settle in. It can be helpful to keep an open conversation with your mental health provider, family and others in your support network to figure out what is going well and what might be necessary to improve your mental wellness plan.
UT Southern is happy to provide reasonable accommodations to any student who has a condition impacting their ability to function at school. If you need support in the classroom, documentation can be provided through the Provost’s Office; contact Dianne Bass at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions. For support outside of the classroom, reach out to the Dean of Students at email@example.com.
Copyright © 2022 NAMI.
Experiencing a Mental Health Crisis
There may be a time when a serious mental health problem emerges or an existing problem escalates resulting in a crisis. If you feel that you are unable to keep up with your academic responsibilities — or that staying in school/on campus might be unsafe or unhelpful for your well-being — be aware that we have a process for taking time off in a mental health emergency.
If you notice that your mental health is negatively impacting your coursework or your daily responsibilities, letting your faculty members or on-campus support system know early on can be helpful. Some mental health issues are temporary and may improve with adjustments to your schedule or care strategies, allowing you to successfully complete the term. For example, we may be able help you adjust your course schedule.
If it is not practical or reasonable for you to continue your current semester, you may consider taking a leave of absence, sometimes called medical or mental health withdrawal (temporarily withdrawing from school due to a medical or mental health issue). You will be asked to provide documentation from a treating clinician that you are experiencing a serious problem that is making it difficult or unsafe for you to remain in school. This is a normal process available to any student who is struggling; don’t hesitate to reach out if you need guidance and support. We can help you navigate the financial implications, explore your housing options, and guide you through the return or reenrollment process.
Copyright © 2022 NAMI.
Starting the Conversation: College and Your Mental Health
This guide offers both parents and students the opportunity to learn more about mental health, including what the privacy laws are and how mental health information can be shared.
Navigating a Mental Health Crisis Guide
Provides important, potentially life-saving information for people experiencing mental health crises and their loved ones. This guide outlines what can contribute to a crisis, warning signs that a crisis is emerging, strategies to help de-escalate a crisis, available resources and so much more.