New York Center for Living is a nonprofit treatment program licensed by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports. It is designed to offer mental health and substance use services to adolescents, young adults, and their families. We have both intensive and nonintensive levels of care to accommodate the varying needs of our clients. Our College Recovery Program supports our young adult clients seeking to attend college for the very first time or who have returned to college post a medical leave following a treatment episode. Our College Recovery Program has given us a window into the challenges that our young adults face while attending college in early recovery. We have seen these challenges compounded by increases in anxiety and depression associated with the isolation and dislocation created by the COVID pandemic.
Most of our adolescents dreamed of going off to college. They envisioned becoming more independent from their family as a major step in their transition to young adulthood. These past two years, however, upended these expectations. Instead, students were met with canceled public events, remote learning, and potential administrative consequences to attending unauthorized gatherings. The toll this has taken is much more complicated for the college students that we work with that may have less developed executive functioning skills, mental health and mood disorders, trauma, and difficulties with independent living. Each of these issues, either singularly or collectively, compound the likelihood of substance use and poor academic performance.