University of Southern Mississippi

University of Southern Mississippi
Garrett Lee Smith Campus

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Stepped CARE Project will create a new service model that both improves student access to mental health resources and provides campus-wide training and year-round suicide screening and prevention activities. Focused on increasing collaboration amongst community and campus stakeholders, this project will offer interventions that range from least intensive (self-directed on-line resources) to high intensive (referral to off campus specialty providers) with several options of intensity between these levels. Because many of USM’s  students are first generation college students in their family and come from low-income rural towns across the state, support for transition and help with resiliency skills are important for student success. The Stepped CARE Project offers resources for all 11,000 students at USM – from the homesick freshman to the recently diagnosed student with bi-polar who struggles with suicidal ideation. A campus-wide screening tool will be used by campus professionals to direct students to the appropriate resources. Financial barriers to assessment and treatment will be removed by covering expenses by campus clinics so they can provide services for free to students. Logistical barriers will be addressed through a campus-wide screening tool that will help professionals get students mental health needs met. This project will also train college students, faculty, and staff to respond effectively to college students with mental and substance use disorders. The Stepped CARE Project will provide outreach services to inform and notify college students about available mental and substance use disorder services.