Mental Health and Substance Use

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.

Gold Folder for USC Faculty and Staff: Supporting Student Well-being

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.

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.

Drug take back programs allow for safe disposal, “no questions asked,” of medications, pills, powders, and other substances. Take back days are organized periodically on the campuses through the USC School of Pharmacy in conjunction with USC Student Health. Substances may be dropped off throughout the year at County locations for  safe drug drop off.

Naloxone (“Narcan”) and Reversing Overdoses

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. Resources are available at USC and partnering organizations to receive help with recovery and sobriety.

Naloxone SC

In a partnership with the student-led USC School of Pharmacy group CPNP (College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists, USC student chapter), we are announcing Naloxone SC — a student-run website and naloxone distribution program. Students can receive a life-saving opioid reversal kit containing a Narcan twinpack and drug-testing strips. Simply log in and review the educational video and take a brief quiz. CPNP members are also available to provide workshops and Q and A sessions via Zoom, and when Covid safety conditions permit, in-person at both HSC and UPC campuses. Contact for additional information.


  • USC Department of Public Safety officers are carrying and are trained to administer Narcan.

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.