Serving struggling students at YSU

YSU for Recovery holds meetings in the Pollock Room of Kilcawley Center on Tuesdays. Photo by Molly Burke / The Jambar

By Molly Burke

Over the last decade, Campus Recreation and Student Counseling Services have worked together to form YSU for Recovery. 

Mason Edmunds, Youngstown State University community liaison, said YSU for Recovery is a safe space for those seeking help with issues such as addiction or mental illness. 

“It’s a far-reaching problem, so the group is really there to be a safe space for students to find somewhat of a community amongst their peers and to know that they’re not alone in the struggle they’re facing,” Edmunds said. 

Edmunds said YSU for Recovery can refer students to counselors on campus for mental health treatment. 

“Mental health is a big part of it. Student Counseling Services have been backing YSU for Recovery for a long time,” Edmunds said. “Sometimes, if a student is struggling I will just refer them to one of our counselors here.”

YSU for Recovery can also make referrals to programs outside of campus. Edmunds said he often refers students to Meridian Healthcare. 

“I work for Meridian Healthcare, which is a local healthcare agency that deals with all sorts of substance abuse issues — detox, medically assisted treatment, whatever somebody might need. Meridian Healthcare has great youth programs for people who are a bit younger,” Edmunds said. “I will refer them to someone down there if I feel that [Meridian Healthcare] can offer help that is best suited to that student.”

Ryan McNicholas, the director of Campus Recreation said YSU for Recovery is an evolving program.

“When COVID happened, a lot of the shift went from the addiction and recovery side of things to the mental health, depression and anxiety side of things of those needs of students,” McNicholas said.

McNicholas said the need for YSU for Recovery is greater than ever before. 

“Students, more now than ever, have higher stress levels because of classes, work, home life you name it. We’re seeing that from our testing, our results, our surveys and things of that nature. I think students need those resources more than ever to help with their collegiate career,” McNicholas said. 

Despite the program mostly helping students, McNicholas said its resources are available to everyone.

“I hope [YSU for Recovery] is recognized as a resource for all students, faculty and staff to be able to say, ‘If I need help, I can go to YSU for Recovery as a sounding board and a place to start,’” McNicholas said. “I also hope that YSU for Recovery serves as a catalyst to help destigmatize mental health needs.”

For those who are apprehensive about seeking help at YSU for Recovery, McNicholas said it serves to make everyone feel comfortable. 

“We want to make sure that everyone feels comfortable. Everything is anonymous and no one is recording any information. It is just somewhere they can feel safe and just be able to get the help they need,” McNicholas said. 

Mason Edmunds holds YSU for Recovery drop-by meetings every Tuesday from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in the Pollock Room of Kilcawley Center. The meetings are open to anyone.

Students with any questions can email Mason Edmunds at [email protected] for more information.