NewsPrioritizing mental health is beneficial for all

Prioritizing mental health is beneficial for all


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Due to the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise of mental health concerns among college students has been immeasurable. 

For many, these past few years have been devastating. From ever pressing due dates to isolation during quarantine, tensions have felt like they’ve been at an all-time high. No one is really sure how to navigate life during COVID, and few know what life is going to look like going forward.

Even without the pandemic, the stress of classes can be overwhelming and, for many students, detrimental to their mental health. It makes sense that some students may find themselves wanting to turn to a professional for help.

For students at the University of Southern Mississippi, there is a solution. There are a number of mental health resources on campus, including from Southern Miss’s School of Psychology

Dr. Kristy McRaney, the Director of USM’s Behavioral Health Clinic, gave the Student Printz information on how students can get help if they are struggling.

“In general, for students on our campus, we are lucky to have Student Counseling services because at any point, a student can walk in without an appointment and get seen that day by a therapist,” said McRaney. 

College students are not the only individuals who are struggling with mental health. There has been an increase in mental health problems in older adults as well due to the constant stress of the pandemic and the surrounding world. For example, many people have lost their jobs due to COVID-19, and are struggling to survive until they can find work again.

McRaney acknowledged this problem and said that USM’s services are extended to the general public as well.

“I think that the more we talk about that[,] and the more the pandemic [shows us] that we need to take care of ourselves and others[, that] we’re starting to have a better awareness about [mental health] and hearing about it more so that we can do some things to support mental health,” said McRaney.

This is a crucial service for people around Hattiesburg because the state of Mississippi is a mental health deficit area. That means that, across the state, there is a need for more mental health providers. This is why there are such long waits for therapists at Student Counseling Services: for many, there are no other options.

Telehealth is also used more frequently to connect to health care providers. If the provider is licensed by the state of Mississippi, their services can be utilized. For more information about telehealth services, you can visit the Mississippi Telehealth Association’s website at

In addition to this, McRaney also gave the Printz more information about on-campus mental health resources for students and the wider community.

“I will also mention that, in addition to Student Counseling Services, we have training clinics on our campus that serve not only our campus population, but also our community, so that helps as well. The USM Behavioral Health Clinic [and] the University Clinic for Family Therapy are [also] options for both our students as well as our community at large,” said McRaney.

Students can also download apps to help with managing stress and anxiety, such as meditation apps, sleep apps and even self-affirmation apps. 

This year has been stressful on students, faculty members and their families. If you need to talk to a mental healthcare provider, contact Southern Miss’s Student Counseling Services during business hours at 601-266-4829 or the Behavioral Health Clinic at 601-266-4588.

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