Friday, December 5, 2014

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Clinic Closed Until January 12

Happy Holidays (5318408861)
By Marcus Quigmire from Florida, USA (happy Holidays  Uploaded by Princess Mérida) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
The Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic is now closed for the break between the Fall and Spring academic semesters at the University of Southern Mississippi. We will reopen for services on January 12.

Anyone needing mental health services prior to January 12 is encouraged to contact another provider who may be able to offer services during this time.
Additional information on emergency mental health resources in the Hattiesburg area can be found here.
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Monday, November 17, 2014

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Low Cost Health Care Resources in Hattiesburg

The Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic often sees clients who would benefit from visiting a health care provider but are having difficulty affording it. Fortunately, there are some options in the Hattiesburg area for low cost (even no cost) health care services.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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Emergency Mental Health Resources in Hattiesburg

English: The Aubrey K. Lucas Administration Bu...
The Aubrey K. Lucas Administration Building on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The building is part of the University of Southern Mississippi Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
At the Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic, we often work with individuals experiencing mild suicidal thoughts without serious intent to harm themselves. These thoughts are fairly common, and our counselors are trained to assess suicidal thoughts as a part of routine care. At the same time, we have some important limitations as a training clinic that prevent us from accepting clients with more serious suicidal thoughts, multiple risk factors for suicide (e.g., previous suicidal behavior, serious medical conditions, ongoing substance abuse, pervasive hopelessness), or other mental health problems where access to emergency/crisis services is likely to be necessary.

When we determine that an individual seeking services or a current client needs a higher level of care than we can provide, we will refer him or her to a treatment provider who can better meet these needs. Here are some of the resources we use:


Additional Resources for the University of Southern Mississippi's Hattiesburg Campus

  • University Police - 601.266.4986 (emergencies on campus)
  • Student Counseling Services - 601.266.4829 or 601.606.4357 after hours (walk-in services during business hours; on-call counselor available after hours)
  • For situations that are not emergencies but where a member of the Southern Miss community is concerned about a student, they can make an anonymous report through the USM CARES program.
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

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Clinic to Provide Free Adult ADHD Screenings

Project 365 #147: 270509 Testing Times AheadAs part of ADHD Awareness Month, the Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic is providing free ADHD screenings to adults (age 18+) at the end of October. The screenings, which will take about 5-10 minutes, will be conducted by graduate students in the Counseling Psychology program at Southern Miss.

Brief screenings cannot determine whether someone meets the diagnostic criteria for ADHD; they are designed to identify individuals who may benefit from more comprehensive diagnostic evaluations.

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

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October is ADHD Awareness Month

The Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic joins with the ADHD Awareness Coalition to fight misperceptions during ADHD AWARENESS MONTH

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD) is one of the most prevalent and misunderstood conditions in the world, according to Sarah D. Wright, ADHD Awareness Month Coalition Chair. "You may not be aware of it, but whether you are affected by it yourself, or someone you love or work with is affected by it, ADD/ADHD has touched your life."

ADHD Awareness Month (October) is an international movement to educate the public and create greater awareness and understanding about ADHD. The Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic will recognize ADHD Awareness Month by joining with millions of adults, families, and children living with ADHD, as well as health care professionals, psychologists, and other leaders, to promote greater awareness about ADHD.

ADHD, a neurodevelopmental disorder, affects millions of Americans regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. Recognized widely by medical organizations as varied as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), ADHD causes significant impairment at work, in school, and throughout the daily lives of those affected by it.

Ruth Hughes, former CEO of CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), referred to current research, saying, "ADHD has many faces. It affects people of all ethnic backgrounds and socioeconomic classes. This is an important month when our community comes together to rally around the cause of ADHD awareness."

The Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic will provide free ADHD screenings to adults (age 18+) at the end of October. Details about these screenings, including the dates, times, and location are forthcoming.

The Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic provides affordable, quality psychological services to the University of Southern Mississippi and greater Hattiesburg communities. As the training clinic of the Counseling Psychology graduate programs at Southern Miss, we are able to offer a full range of psychological services at affordable rates. For more information, visit us on the web or call 601.266.4601 for an appointment.
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Monday, September 22, 2014

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Clinic Receives Generous Donation From Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood Association

thank youThe Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic received a generous donation from the Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood Association (HHNA) on Friday. The gift of $2,000 will help to offset fees for clients who have difficulty affording mental health services provided by the clinic.

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Monday, September 8, 2014

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Confidentiality in Counseling

Image courtesy of
Anyone who has been in counseling or therapy will tell you that confidentiality is an extremely important consideration. In order to feel comfortable sharing our thoughts and feelings with a counselor or therapist, we must have confidence that he or she will protect our privacy and keep what we discuss confidential. We also need to be informed about the few legally-mandated exceptions to confidentiality.  

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

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Fall 2014 Hours

Even in Mississippi, the leaves turnThe Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic will reopen for services on August 20 with expanded hours for the fall.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

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Clinic Closed Until Aug. 20

Wooden old door by Georges Grondin
In accordance with the university schedule, the Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic is closed between the end of the Summer academic term and beginning of the Fall term. We reopen for services on August 20 and will have expanded hours throughout the Fall term.

Individuals in urgent need of services prior to August 20 should contact another provider, such as:
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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

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National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, providing an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about how mental health affects all of us. It is important that individuals with mental illnesses realize that they are not alone.

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Monday, June 9, 2014

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Seeking Counseling for the First Time

Counseling The decision to seek counseling is rarely an easy one to make. We often feel like we should be able to solve problems ourselves rather than seeking professional help, and the idea of sharing our personal concerns with a stranger may seem scary. Our expectations of counseling are often shaped by what we see on TV, little of which inspires confidence.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do that will make your first counseling session easier, and they start with having an accurate idea of what to expect.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

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Summer 2014 Hours

English: Strawberry Patch Park in Madison, Mis...
Strawberry Patch Park in Madison, Mississippi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic experiences a reduced demand for services during the summer months. A relatively small number of Southern Miss students are on campus, and many of our community clients take family vacations during the summer when children are out of school. Due to this reduced demand, as well as reductions in the number of counselors available, we limit our hours of operation during June and July.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

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Clinic Closed May 1 to May 26

Police Close
Police Close (Photo credit: Alison Christine)
In accordance with the university schedule, the Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic will be closed from May 1 to May 26. We reopen for services on May 27 and will have reduced hours during the summer months due to the significant decrease in demand for services experienced during this time.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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Does Something Have to Be Wrong With Me to Seek Counseling?

It is a mistake to assume that something has to be wrong with you before you can benefit from counseling. We work with many people to improve the quality of their relationships, better adjust to life transitions, or foster personal growth. There is nothing "wrong" with many of our clients; they just want to improve their lives in some way.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

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Doctoral Program Receives Reaccreditation From APA

We received big news today from Dr. Bonnie Nicholson, Director of Training of the Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program at the University of Southern Mississippi:
I am pleased to inform you that the Counseling Psychology doctoral program received word today that we received a full 7 years in our reaccreditation cycle through the Commission on Accreditation and the American Psychological Association! 
This is great news for all graduate students and faculty associated with the Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic and the Counseling Psychology Program.
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Monday, April 7, 2014

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Healthy Boundaries: What They Are, Why They’re Important, and How You’ll Know if You’re Missing Them

Its SpringDo you feel like you’re being taken advantage of at work? Are you spreading yourself too thin? Are you allowing others to treat you in a manner that is not respectful or healthy? If you are communicating your needs to others, do they listen? Do you have a chip on your shoulder?

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

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Symptoms of Mental Illness Often Interfere With Performance at Work

Distress (Photo credit: Richard Masoner)
If you follow mental health news at all, you have probably heard about some recent changes to the manner in which mental health problems are diagnosed. An updated version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (i.e., DSM-5) was published in May of 2013. Some of the revisions to DSM-5 have been controversial, especially those that involve changes to the criteria of certain mental disorders.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

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Helping Someone Who is Suicidal

Suicide is unfortunately common and the thought of someone we love considering suicide is overwhelming. While there are some things we can do to help in such a situation, it is important to recognize that someone facing a suicidal crisis is likely to need professional help. One of the most important things we can do is provide support and help the person connect with a mental health provider. Obtaining professional help in a timely manner may be the difference between life and death.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

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ADHD Linked to Serious Motor Vehicle Accidents

Multi-Car S-Curve Accident Grand Rapids 10-12-13Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the more common mental illnesses diagnosed in childhood. Mental health professionals used to think that children with ADHD outgrew the disorder during the teen years, but it is now clear that many people with childhood ADHD will continue to experience symptoms throughout adolescence and into adulthood.

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Monday, March 3, 2014

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Recognizing Healthy Anger

Anger is a common emotion we all recognize. Survey research shows that most people feel at least mildly angry several times per week. Fortunately, the experience of anger, while often unpleasant, is not necessarily harmful. In fact, some anger can be healthy for us.

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

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Energy Drinks and Alcohol Consumption

Cold Red Bull CanA recent study published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine explored the possible associations between the use of of energy drinks and soft drinks and the use of alcohol, cigarettes, and illicit drugs among nationally representative samples of adolescents in the United States.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

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Mental Health in Mississippi

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released their Behavioral Health Barometer: United States, 2013 report, as well as state-specific reports. The Behavioral Health Barometer: Mississippi, 2013 report provides information about substance use and mental health issues in our state and shows how we compare to the national averages.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

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Stress Management is Important Part of Mental Health

StressSymptomsWe all experience stress, and many of us have learned to live with fairly high levels of stress. But it is important to recognize that excessive stress, especially when chronic in nature, is associated with a number of health-related problems, emotional difficulties, and reduced quality of life. Effective stress management is an important part of positive mental health.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

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Top Ten Parenting Reminders for Your Child’s Challenging Behaviors

Child and mother with Apple iPadParenting is not easy, especially when facing challenging behaviors from your children. Here are ten tips for parents dealing with challenging behaviors (e.g., noncompliance, aggression, inappropriate play) from Dr. Bonnie Nicholson's Positive Parenting Research Team in the Counseling Psychology Program at the University of Southern Mississippi:
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Friday, February 14, 2014

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Anxiety Appears to Increase Risk of Stroke

National Institute of Mental Health Clinical C...
National Institute of Mental Health Clinical Center (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We all experience feelings of fear, anxiety, and worry from time-to-time. These are common emotions that, while potentially unpleasant, are not necessarily harmful. Anxiety disorders, on the other hand, are potentially serious problems that can lead to great distress or difficulty meeting the demands of daily life.

Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health problems. Different anxiety disorders involve different combinations of symptoms, but some of the more common include feelings of panic or fear, excessive worries that may be difficult to control, problems sleeping, tension, restlessness, and stress. Fortunately, many anxiety disorders respond well to treatment, and brief counseling can often provide relief for the symptoms of anxiety.

Now there is another reason why individuals experiencing chronic anxiety should consider seeking help. The American Heart Association's blog reports that a study published last year in Stroke and funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Institute of Mental Health found that symptoms of anxiety were associated with an increased stroke risk. Thus, chronic untreated anxiety may be a risk factor for serious medical problems.

As we learn more about the relationship of various mental illnesses to other medical problems, the importance of seeking mental health treatment becomes clearer.
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

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LGBTQ Resources in the Hattiesburg Area

Kennard-Washington Hall
Kennard-Washington Hall, University of Southern Mississippi
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered (LGBT) individuals are at increased risk for developing certain mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders. A 2014 study conducted in England by Youth Chances found that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth between 16 and 25 years of age reported higher levels of depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicidal thoughts. Carlos Maza, a researcher at Equality Matters, reported in a memo from the Center for American Progress that LGBT young adults are more likely to engage in self-harm and attempt suicide compared to their non-LGBT peers, and this is consistent with data summarized by the American Association of Suicidology.

It is apparent that there is a great need for mental health services for LGBTQ youth; however, finding safe spaces to discuss LGBTQ issues can be difficult. Listed below are some resources available in the Hattiesburg area, as well as a couple of state and national resources.

Resources in the Hattiesburg Area

Student Counseling Services (601.266.4829) – Located on The University of Southern Mississippi's Hattiesburg campus, Student Counseling Services provides counseling to current Southern Miss students and offers assistance on issues specific to the LGBTQ community.

Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic (601.266.4601) – Also located on the Hattiesburg campus of The University of Southern Mississippi, the Clinic provides a safe space for students and members of the Hattiesburg community age 16 and up to discuss a variety of issues relevant to the needs of the LGBTQ community.

USM Gay Straight Alliance – The Gay Straight Alliance at The University of Southern Mississippi is a group of students, faculty, and community members who believe in putting an end to homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, racism, sexism, and all other forms of discrimination. The GSA offers free education, support, and information to individuals at Southern Miss.

State and National Resources

Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition – The mission of the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition is to ensure that all students have a safe learning environment by protecting students’ Constitutional rights, ending homophobia, transphobia, sexism, and all forms of discrimination, and fostering acceptance of students regardless of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity through public education and advocacy.

The Trevor Project (24/7 Crisis Hotline: 866.488.7386) – The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth ages 13-24.

- Post contributed by Daniel -
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Friday, February 7, 2014

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Addressing a Fear of Happiness in Counseling

Colours of happiness
(Photo credit: Camdiluv ♥ from Concepción, CHILE)
Recent research described in Scientific American suggests that some people with mental health problems may fear positive emotions. We usually think of happiness something worth seeking, but some people may avoid it out of a concern that if they are happy today, they are likely to feel worse tomorrow.

It is easy to imagine how a fear of positive emotions could complicate the counseling process. Many counseling approaches utilize methods designed to increase positive feelings, especially for individuals suffering from depression. These approaches might seem unrealistic or even threatening to someone with a fear of happiness.

For someone with a fear of positive emotions who is seeking counseling, it may be helpful to discuss this fear with one's counselor early in the relationship. Working to increase one's acceptance of happiness early in the counseling process could lead to a more positive and successful experience.
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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

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Warning Signs of Troubled Relationships

CoupleMany couples having problems in their relationships wait too long before seeking professional counseling. Relationship distress has a way of building over time as the bond between partners erodes with continued conflict. Minor problems that are not successfully resolved may resurface under periods of stress. Partners find themselves repeating unhealthy patterns but feeling stuck, knowing that something is wrong but not knowing how to change it.

At what point should a couple seek counseling? The answer will depend on the couple; however, there are some advantages to addressing relationship distress early. A couple who seeks help earlier is likely to have a stronger foundation on which to build. It is may also be easier to break out of unhealthy interaction patterns and acquire new relationship skills.

Debra Manchester MacMannis, LCSW, author of Parenting Tips on the PsychCentral Blog Network, shares seven warning signs that may indicate problems in marriages and other intimate relationships that should be addressed. The warning signs include:
  1. Realizing that one no longer feels warn or affectionate with one's partner
  2. Not creating sufficient time to engage in enjoyable activities together
  3. Significant reductions in the frequency of sex
  4. One or both partners stops taking care of themselves
  5. Blaming one's partner for feelings of unhappiness
  6. Feeling lonely even in the presence of one's partner
  7. Beginning to feel contempt towards one partner
MacMannis notes that even if one believes that all seven warning signs are present in one's relationship, it is not necessarily too late to benefit from counseling.

The Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic provides couples counseling for partners experiencing relationship distress, as well as those interested in strengthening their relationship and learning healthy relationship skills.
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Thursday, January 30, 2014

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Talking About Mental Health

PhrenologyBack in July of 2013, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius began to spread the word about a new effort by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to raise awareness of mental health in the United States. The NAB started a public service announcement around a Tumblr page called aimed at teens and young adults suffering from mental illness.

Here is how they described what they were hoping to accomplish at the time:
The goal of OK2TALK is to create a community for teens and young adults struggling with mental health problems and encourage them to talk about what they’re experiencing by sharing their personal stories of recovery, tragedy, struggle or hope. Anyone can add their voice by sharing creative content such as poetry, inspirational quotes, photos, videos, song lyrics and messages of support in a safe, moderated space. We hope this is the first step towards getting help and feeling better.
The central message, that it is okay to talk about mental health, is an important one. Too many people do not receive help because they are afraid to ask or do not know where to go. A lack of information can fuel fear and lead to negative attitudes toward those suffering from mental illness. This may make it even less likely that those who need help will be willing to seek it.

Secretary Sebelius wrote:
Too often, misinformation and misperceptions lead to negative attitudes toward people with mental illness, and these negative attitudes can sometimes discourage our loved ones and colleagues from seeking help. And we know that mental health conditions are common – one in five Americans will experience a mental health problem in any given year. Yet 60% of people with mental health conditions and nearly 90% of people with substance use disorders don’t receive the care they need. was developed to serve as a resource for anyone seeking information on mental health. The site provides material designed to help individuals recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness and tips for how to talk to friends or family members about mental health.
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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

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Clinic Closed Jan. 28 and 29 Due to Winter Weather

(About Graphics Software
The University of Southern Mississippi is closed Tuesday, January 28 and 29, due to winter weather. This means that the Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic will be closed on these dates.

Updated: The university is now scheduled to reopen on Thursday at Noon. All clinic services will resume at 1:00 pm on Thursday.
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Friday, January 24, 2014

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National Drug Facts Week: Shattering the Myths

Teens are confronted with conflicting messages about drugs, leaving many feeling confused and uncertain about where to go for information. Teen drug use remains a significant public health issue, and access to accurate information is essential.

National Drug Facts Week for 2014 is January 27 to February 2, 2014. Scientists from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) are hosting a live web chat on January 28, which will be available from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm EST at These annual web chats give high school students throughout the United States an opportunity to ask questions about drugs.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

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Welcome to Our New Blog

Welcome (Photo credit: Rameshng)
Many of our clients learn about us after searching the Internet for information about counseling and other psychological services available in the Hattiesburg area. Some find us after seeking information about a specific service we offer (e.g., Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder evaluations for adults, career counseling). Others find us by searching for help with symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, or other mental health concerns.

One of the most common things we hear from our clients is, "I wish I had known about you sooner." They were unaware that there was a university-based training clinic right here in Hattiesburg providing evidence-based counseling on a sliding scale.

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