Mental Health and Recent Events

Nov. 13, 2019—The university is listening to your concerns about the tragic deaths of our students. These losses have shaken our community and our sympathy goes out to the families and friends who are mourning loved ones. We want our community to know we are extending resources for our students to support them and help them heal.

Walk-ins for urgent counseling

Students in need of mental health support or experiencing thoughts of suicide can walk in to USC Student Health (at either Engemann or Eric Cohen Student Health Centers, during daytime hours) or connect to services through the 24/7 phone line after closing (213-740-9355/WELL). If a student is in urgent distress we want them to come in.

Clinical Community Responds

The university clinical care community has responded to Dept. Chair of Psychiatry Dr. Steve Siegel with volunteer support in their professional capacities. Dr. Siegel has confirmed: “We realize that further resources are needed in order to provide support for our communities as well as the acute mental health needs of our students. In order to balance these important priorities, members of the larger USC community have volunteered to join together. To this end, additional faculty members have volunteered to provide community support, while our student health faculty members focus on care of students. Thus far, we have received additional support from faculty in the Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology, Family Medicine and Anesthesiology from the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Additionally, faculty members from the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, The Department of Psychology in USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences; and the Marriage and Family Therapy program in USC Rossier School of Education have all stepped forward. In sum, this is an unprecedented effort for all mental health services at USC to band together with the unitary purpose of caring for our students.”

Drop-In Sessions for Grief and Loss

We are converting our Thursday drop-in sessions, (Thriving Thursdays from noon-1 p.m. in TCC 222) to facilitated sessions on grief and loss for the rest of the semester. All USC students are welcome to come by; no appointment is necessary.

Support for the USC Cinematic Arts Community

For students in the School of Cinematic Arts, a weekly drop-in facilitated grief and loss group is sponsored on-site (Tuesdays from noon- 1 p.m. in SCA 428) with a USC Student Health Counseling and Mental Health clinician.

Clinical Practice (Fifth Floor) of Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

This practice, shortly to begin seeing patients, is a practice to provide mental health care for USC students who require longer-term care as part of their treatment plan. Students should start with USC Student Health in Counseling and Mental Health Services (3rd floor of Engemann at UPC, first floor of Eric Cohen on HSC) by walking in or making an appointment (213-740-9355/WELL); clinicians will work with patients on creating an appropriate treatment plan that may include long-term counseling with the 5th floor clinicians.

Resources for Parents

Additional helpful information for parents on how to bring up difficult conversations may be found online from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Resources for families on mental health topics for college students may be found online from The Jed Foundation. The archived video of the Facebook live information session for parents with vice president of student affairs Winston Crisp; Dr. Steven Siegel, chair of the Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Keck School of Medicine of USC; and Dr. Sarah Van Orman, Chief Health Officer for USC Student Health, Keck Medicine of USC, is viewable below:

We encourage parents to keep in communication with their student, listen, and provide assurance, support, and hope. If you are concerned about your student, reach out to the Campus Support and Advocacy team (213-740-0411) or if urgent, the 24/7 Department of Public Safety numbers (213-740-4321 / 323-442-1000) for a welfare check.

Resources for Peer Conversations

It’s difficult to know what to say to someone who might be struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues. This #Seizetheawkward guide from the Jed Foundation provides guidance on how to raise conversations with a friend.

Resources for Faculty and Staff

Faculty and staff  influence shapes much of our students’ experiences at the university. Many have asked for guidance on how to respond to our students’ needs when there are times of distress in our campus community. The guide to grief and loss through a trauma-informed lens, reviewed by Counseling and Mental Health Services in USC Student Health (clinical faculty in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Keck School of Medicine of USC) may provide some insight in recognizing common expressions of grief, and responding supportively in those moments.

Drug Use


The state of some individuals’ mental health may be further influenced by substance use, including highly potent drugs. The availability of opioids in recreational drugs poses additional mental health and medical risk. If you or someone you care about uses opioids or other drugs, treatment is effective and available.

In addition, naloxone (commercially known as the nasal spray Narcan) can reverse the effects of an accidental overdose. Any physician in California can prescribe it to someone at risk of overdose. Naloxone is also available by pharmacist consultation and can be filled at USC Pharmacies on campus. Narcan is a covered benefit in the USC Student Health Insurance Plan administered through Aetna. Treatment is available and effective, talk to your medical or mental health provider at USC Student Health to discuss a treatment plan.

  • USC Department of Public Safety officers are carrying and are trained to administer Narcan.
  • USC departments and student organizations who would like training from graduate students in pharmacy (on Narcan procedures in case of overdose) can contact Kari Trotter-Wall in USC Pharmacies; for peer health education on substance use harm reduction, contact USC Student Health, 213-740-9355 (WELL),

Important numbers

USC Student Health (24/7) 213-740-9355 (WELL) for counseling, medical, sexual assault survivor support.

USC Department of Public Safety (24/7) 213-740-4321 at UPC, 323-442-1000 at HSC; for emergency response and welfare checks.

USC Campus Support and Intervention (business hours) 213-740-0411; for concerns about members of the USC community (parents may use this line for concerns about their student). The office also oversees Trojans Care for Trojans, the online concern line.

For Reference

Nov. 12 Letter from Campus Leadership