By Samantha Smtih
Youngstown State University provides multiple services covering a variety of needs for students. One service includes the program YSU for Recovery, a biweekly online meeting where students dealing with substance abuse can join for a safe space to talk.
Mason Edmunds, prevention specialist for Meridian Healthcare, explained what YSU for Recovery provides for students.
“It started out a couple of years ago as an outreach initiative for students on campus who might be struggling with substance abuse or substance addiction,” he said. “The form that YSU for Recovery has taken now is — it is a safe space that meets virtually every two weeks on a Monday.”
The goal for the meetings is to create a respectful and safe atmosphere for those students to talk about what they are going through and talk to others about the topic, Edmunds said.
Since he isn’t a registered counselor, he said these meetings don’t replace therapy. His job is to bring up topics for students to discuss in confidentiality.
If a student really needs help, they can stay after the meeting to speak privately about resources available for use.
Ryan McNicholas, associate director of YSU’s Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center, explained more of what the organization provides.
“They definitely will talk about what our campus resources are, like our student counseling services,” he said. “Now we have licensed counselors in that facility to help out students or provide extra help or direction on where to go if they need something individually.”
Edmunds explained the organization is still trying to get more attention by promoting its social media and providing other ways for students to discover and look into the group.
“That’s something we’re still trying to figure out, to be honest, because the whole thing has been kind of new and ever-evolving, and trying to get the information into the hands of students is a difficult one, for sure,” he said. “But we have electronic marketing all over campus, and we’re trying to have a social media presence in some sense.”
McNicholas said the organization also is promoted through the rec center’s social media, as well as student counseling’s social media.
He said it is a difficult topic to market and promote because the organization is not technically a support group or a replacement for rehab. For now, it’s a safe space for sharing difficulties or directing others to resources.
“Be kind to yourself,” Edmunds said. “Don’t be afraid to mention it to somebody if you feel like it is an actual problem that’s interrupting your day to day life, that’s obviously affecting your health, your relationships, your academic success, professional success, all these things.”
Any student interested in attending the meetings can contact Edmunds through email to register firstname.lastname@example.org.