Each September, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) sponsors “National Recovery Month.” The month-long observance serves to bolster awareness of mental and substance abuse disorders while also celebrating those who have made or are making progress in recovery.

In its 27th year, the celebration emphasizes the overall effectiveness in prevention, treatment, and recovery; it is intended to spread the message that recovery is achievable and those struggling can still attain a healthy and rewarding life. This year’s theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities.”

Many researchers are finding the prevalence of mental disorders to have recently increased in both number and severity. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 75 percent of all mental-health conditions begin by age 24. Furthermore, one in five young adults will experience a mental health condition during college. Additionally, as reported by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health (CCMH), anxiety and depression continue to be the two biggest concerns for college students facing mental illness. What’s more, according to data collected by Emory University, there are more than 1,000 suicides on college campuses per year.

According to Active Minds, a nonprofit dedicated to ending the stigma behind mental illness on college campuses, the 18-24 year-old age group shows the lowest rate of help-seeking. That is, college-aged students are reluctant to seek help for something their life may depend on.

“Mental health is no joke. I wish more people would just ditch their judgments. If I was struggling, I would definitely get help,” junior math major Martin Gomez said.

“If I saw a friend or even a stranger struggling, I would get them help. It’s a life or death situation.”

Students are met with more demands and responsibilities than ever before, which is a major source of stress, both psychologically and emotionally. “I don’t think that colleges do a good job in talking about mental illness, and I do believe mental illness is a serious problem on college campuses,” freshman education major Letty Carrizales said.

“No one really talks about it, to be honest. It’s the kind of thing that is hidden away.

“I think it should be part of the curriculum, you know, talking about depression, mental illness and ways to get help.”

UTSA offers various resources for students who are grappling with mental health, substance abuse or stress. Services include individual counseling, group counseling, relationship counseling, biofeedback, online screening and outreach.

Students interested in UTSA’s counseling services can call 210-458-4140, visit the office in the Rec. Wellness Center at RWC 1.810 or visit the counseling website at utsa.edu/counsel/getting-started.

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