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IHL: Public universities in Mississippi...

IHL: Public universities in Mississippi help meet mental health needs

By: Anne Summerhays - December 21, 2022

IHL discusses how the universities are educating the next generation of mental health care workers, providing counseling and services to students and staff members.

The National Alliance of Mental Illness reports 31,000 adults in Mississippi have a mental health condition. In February 2021, 42.7% of adults in Mississippi reported symptoms of anxiety or depression while 21.1% were unable to get needed counseling or therapy.

“According to the National Institute of Mental Health, mental illnesses are common across the United States,” the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) said. “The lives of tens of millions of people and their families are impacted each year. However, it is estimated that only half of those suffering from mental illness receive treatment.”

Mississippi public universities are working to meet this need by educating the next generation of mental health care workers and providing counseling and services to students and staff members.

Jackson State University’s Metro Jackson Community Prevention Coalition Department (MJCPC) had their Substance Abuse Prevention Block Grant renewed by the Mental Health Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Services.

According to IHL, the department will receive $304,488 for the 2022-23 fiscal year.

“This renewal also marks the department’s 31st year being awarded funding for substance abuse prevention,” IHL said. “The purpose of the grant is to provide evidence-based substance abuse prevention services to local schools, colleges, and communities. Metro Jackson serves K-12 schools, colleges, and the collective Jackson community. Additionally, the grant helps with developing and implementing an age-appropriate, culturally relevant comprehensive prevention program which includes a broad array of strategies directed at individuals not identified to be in need of treatment.”

Additionally, Jackson State University’s Department of Psychology in the School of Social and Behavioral Science in the College of Liberal Arts, offers degrees in Bachelor of Science in psychology and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

“The department offers various services to campus members and the local community through its Applied Psychological Services Center,” IHL continued. “The Center is designed for its doctoral students to receive training in the field alongside licensed professionals. Services include mental health assessments and interventions, therapeutic and psychoeducational services, and consultations.”

Mississippi State University provides one of the only undergraduate degree programs of its kind in the nation, a Bachelor of Science in Educational Psychology.

“MSU’s Bachelor of Science in Educational Psychology opens doors for graduates to not only aid students in K-12 school settings, but also individuals in community mental health centers, hospitals, private industry and more,” IHL added.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Student Counseling and Wellness Center (SCWC) promotes the mental health and wellness of UMMC students across all degrees through evidence-based mental health care for a wide range of mental health concerns.

“The work at the SCWC is tailored to each student,” IHL said. “UMMC’s Office of Well-being received a $3 million federal award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration. Ten institutions, including UMMC, were funded through the grant category “Promoting Resilience and Mental Health Among Health Professionals Workforce Program.””

IHL noted that the University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Psychology has a long history of supporting the university and surrounding communities through research and psychological service in the schools, business, and through providing low-cost mental health services to residents of South Mississippi.

The university offers Mental Health First Aid to students, faculty, and staff.  All benefit-eligible Southern Miss employees have access to an Employee Assistance Program.

USM offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology as well as four graduate programs. The Masters degree in Counseling Psychology is accredited by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council.

“The Ph.D. programs in Psychology with emphases in Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychology are all accredited by the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation,” IHL explained. “Students at The University of Southern Mississippi have access to individual appointments with the professional, multi-disciplinary staff at Student Counseling Services (SCS). SCS staff members have expertise across a variety of therapeutic styles and mental health concerns.”

About the Author(s)
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Anne Summerhays

Anne Summerhays is a recent graduate of Millsaps College where she majored in Political Science, with minors in Sociology and American Studies. In 2021, she joined Y’all Politics as a Capitol Correspondent. Prior to making that move, she interned for a congressional office in Washington, D.C. and a multi-state government relations and public affairs firm in Jackson, Mississippi. While at Millsaps, Summerhays received a Legislative Fellowship with the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi where she worked with an active member of the Mississippi Legislature for the length of session. She has quickly established trust in the Capitol as a fair, honest, and hardworking young reporter. Her background in political science helps her cut through the noise to find and explain the truth. Email Anne: