Supporting Students Who Are in Recovery

As professionals, you know that students struggling with addiction have different needs than their peers. But reaching them can sometimes be challenging.recoveryonchalkboard_article

When looking to help students in recovery on your campus, Diane Fedorchak, Director of the BASICS Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, urges prevention professionals to keep these five things in mind:

  •          Do your research on the different types of recovery programs. Recovery looks different for everyone and different programs work best for different individuals.
  •          Be mindful of who is in leadership positions at your school. Maybe they will be your biggest allies in this work but it is also possible that this may not be the case and you may have to shift and adapt your recovery program rollout plan.
  •          Be intentional in your goals and know your mission for the Collegiate Recovery Program.
  •          Provide support for your staffing, making sure they have the skills and training needed to fully support their students and themselves.
  •          Start where you are. Know your resources and that there are many different models of Collegiate Recovery Programs and recovery.


Don’t Have a Recovery Program on Campus?

Image removed.Diane also provides a few tips if your school does not have dedicated recovery resources for students:

  •          Look at the gaps on your campus and evaluate what support you can give.
  •          Start 1:1 with students. This has a huge, meaningful impact to those you are working with.
  •          Normalize recovery on your campus - make it known that this is a safe space for recovery to all. Pass out recovery materials, hold events, and make recovery a norm while pushing against stigma and stereotypes that exist around recovery and substance use disorders.
  •          Make what you are doing visible. Post about it, talk about it, and encourage a welcoming community. Be the support!


If you build and provide these services, the students will come.



Supporting Students in Recovery on College Campuses. (2019). Retrieved July 2019, from

Diane Fedorchak (UMass Amherst) 2019


Related: September is Recovery Month