Online questionnaire helps detect depressed students - FOX Carolina 21

Online questionnaire helps detect depressed students

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A screen grab of USC Upstate's RU OK and Spartans Care page. (Feb. 11, 2013/FOX Carolina) A screen grab of USC Upstate's RU OK and Spartans Care page. (Feb. 11, 2013/FOX Carolina)

College can be an adjustment for students because it's a new place, with new friends and a new environment.

And it can leave some students feeling overwhelmed, Shelby Stewart said. She's a senior at USC Upstate in Spartanburg.

"I know for me, I had an issue like that when I was in high school," Mark Owens said. He's a student, too. "I'm happy that my high school - they were able to catch that for me early on, and I think it would be beneficial for newer students."

All around campus there are "Are You OK" stickers on doors of several buildings. Counselors said it's a reminder for students so they know there's help on campus if they need it.

"We care about what's going on in the lives of students," Stacey Mills, assistant director of Student Life, said. Mills said the program reaches out to students. "They do want to know that they're in a safe environment and that there are people who are responsible in places that can affect positive change."

And counselors at USC Columbia have set up a new Interactive Screening Program. They said students can anonymously take an online questionnaire to determine if they're depressed. There are questions like "Are you stressed out?" "Have you ever attempted suicide?"

"We know we need to be reaching outside of the counseling center to help identify people," Jennifer Myers said. She is the coordinator for suicide prevention at USC. She said after a student completes the questionnaire, a counselor is notified and then can interact with the student online.

"Often online is a little more comfortable than a phone conversation or face-to-face conversation," Myers said.

And students think both programs are useful tools to cope with college life.

National statistics show about 80 percent of college students who die by suicide while in college never received services on campus.

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