Celebrating recovery efforts in higher education | Commentary

(Orlando Sentinel, August 27) America’s struggles with addiction and depression are well known, and these challenges aren’t isolated to one particular age group. People often don’t realize that the college years are prime time for these conditions to appear.

In fact, in a recent national survey, college presidents said addressing anxiety, depression and addiction were the top three ways to improve student wellbeing. Unfortunately, the stigma associated with mental health issues and substance abuse may lead many higher educational institutions to adopt a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to recovery on campus. But pretending students aren’t dealing with these issues doesn’t help anyone.

The University of Central Florida began offering services for students in recovery in 2011 by holding a Narcotics Anonymous meeting on campus. It took institutional courage to offer NA a place to meet. Some worried the meetings would send the wrong message — did UCF have a drug problem? Read more.