One in four adults can struggle with a mental illness in a given year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

With 73 percent of college students experiencing a mental health crisis while attending college, it’s clear that there’s a high percentage of students who struggle with mental illness.

However, only 55 percent of students seek help and support from services on campus, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

That’s only a little over half of the students seeking help to find a solution to better their mental health. Out of the other 45 percent, only 5 percent seek help from an outside source and the other 40 percent do not seek guidance at all.

When asked in the survey, by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, if they no longer attend college because of their mental health issues, 64 percent responded yes to the response.

Here at UNT, there are many resources to help students face their demons to help them strive and overcome their mental illness. Like SARC, Life of Purpose, Counseling and Testing services, and the Collegiate Recovery Program.

All resources serve their own purpose in helping students succeed in school and cope with their mental illness.

The Collegiate Recovery Program (CRP) is a branch of the Eagle Peer Recovery organization. CRP’s purpose is to provide peer support, offering an integrated behavior health model.

Most who work at CRP are students themselves, known as interns, and also have struggled with addiction, drug abuse, and a mental illness at some point in their life, but are now in recovery.

Austin Elendt, a junior at UNT, often visits the CRP to have peer support and help him get through his depression.

“I go because it makes me realize I’m not alone in this,” Elendt said. “It helps me feel like I can get through this because I see how they have gotten through it themselves and are doing pretty well.”

“We’re more like a family than anything else,” Thomas Wylie, 42, who is one of the peer interns at CRP, said.

Wylie struggled with addiction and drug abuse for about over 20 years and also managed a sobriety house for about a year and a half before moving on to attend UNT to get his Master degree.

Wylie started off with substances like marijuana at 16 years old. Later in life, he began experimenting with hardcore drugs, taking them off and on. However, he then began to feel lost and wanted some answers.

“It got to a point to where it was confusing and frustrating,” Wylie said.

Wylie then took the first step in sobering up and went to some people who he trusted, beginning his journey to recovery at the sobriety house.

He had gone to the sobriety house to solidify his own sobriety and after a three-month period, the house asked him to stay for another six months to work there and help manage the house.

“To a certain degree, I liked it a lot,” Wylie said. “But there’s an element of burnout when you’re working full time and managing the sober house full time.”

While at the sobriety house he learned a lot of leadership qualities and connected with the people and environment because he had experienced it, too.

“I have a sixth sense about this, or I felt completely natural in that situation,” Wylie said.

He hopes to become a licensed professional counselor in Rehabilitation Studies with a minor in Linguistics and Addiction. From there he would like to receive his Ph.D. to do various researches and be an adjunct professor.

Wylie said his road to recovery was interesting in that it helped him rediscover who he was and all his talents he knew he had, but never put them to good practice.

Kristin Hudson, another peer intern says she likes working with Wylie because she can count on him for certain situations and always goes to him because of his experience.

“He’s definitely a confidant and someone I trust to go to help out,” Hudson said. “He’s very forward thinking and offers solutions and positive remarks.”

 

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