Thursday, January 4, 2024

UTSA recognizes Eating Disorder Awareness Week, shares wellbeing programs

UTSA recognizes Eating Disorder Awareness Week, shares wellbeing programs

The UTSA Center for Collegiate Recovery provides comprehensive recovery services to all UTSA students.

MARCH 1, 2023 — Advancing UTSA’s commitment to promoting the well-being of students, faculty and staff and in observance of Eating Disorder Awareness Week, UTSA reminds Roadrunners that the university has many resources for those struggling with eating disorders and disordered eating. Eating Disorder Awareness Week (EDAW), February 27 to March 5, is an annual campaign that educates the public about the realities of eating disorders to reduce stigma and provide support and visibility to those affected by eating disorders. This year, EDAW celebrates Strength through Experience and Knowledge and recognizes It’s Time For a Change by centering on lived experiences and eating disorder education.

Eating disorders are serious medical illnesses characterized by severe disturbance to eating behaviors. They affect every gender, class, ethnicity, body weight, disability/ability, and sexual orientation. Over 29 million Americans will deal with an eating disorder at some point in their lives. They are as, or more prevalent than breast cancer, HIV, and schizophrenia. Approximately 10% of people with eating disorders are cisgender males. People of all body types struggle with eating disorders; you cannot tell if someone has an eating disorder just by looking at them.

Mistakenly perceived as a choice or trend, eating disorders are serious illnesses influenced by several genetic and environmental factors. They often involve severe medical complications and have the second highest mortality rate of all mental health disorders; however, recovery is possible with treatment and recovery services.

“It is helpful to be able to come into the center in-between classes and talk to another student about recovery.”

The UTSA Center for Collegiate Recovery provides comprehensive recovery services to all UTSA students, including recovery development and support, assessment and counseling interventions, and education and prevention materials. Housed within UTSA Wellbeing Services, the Recovery Center offers students recovering from substance use disorders and addictions, including eating disorders, the community and support that they need to succeed in college and recovery.

Roadrunners looking for a support system can find an environment necessary to maintain recovery while earning their degree. Students in recovery can find a home on campus in the Recovery Lounge where they can relax, study, hang out, or grab some coffee, snacks, and other refreshments. Peer support meetings occur throughout the week, which provide community and connection to students recovering from eating disorders or other addictions.

Support meetings are designed for students both in recovery and interested in recovery from eating disorders, substance use disorders, and other addictions. All meetings are held in-person at the John Peace Library Recovery Center (JPL 4.02.08).

“It is helpful to be able to come into the center in-between classes and talk to another student about recovery,” said Jai Gomez, a student member of the Recovery Center. “There is never judgment, and I am around people who can relate to the struggles of being sober, in recovery, and dealing with studying and life. I do not know how I would be so successful if it were not for the people and relationships I have made here.”

Wellness Programming

The Eating Recovery Group takes place every first and third Thursday of the month from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Facilitated by the Eating Recovery Center of San Antonio, this group is for individuals who may be in recovery from or who struggle with disordered eating/eating disorders.

All Recovery is a non-12-step, solution-focused, peer-led support group designed to encourage open sharing with day-to-day successes and struggles as a person in or seeking recovery. All pathways to recovery are welcomed to the group. Meetings take place weekly on Mondays from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Anonymous Birds is an all addiction, peer facilitated support group that uses the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Big Book to develop and nurture recovery. Anonymous Birds is held weekly on Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

SMART Recovery Family and Friends is a solution-focused, non-12-step support group that uses tools from SMART Recovery to support friends, family members, spouses, significant others, and/or anyone who cares about one struggling with or in recovery from substance use disorders, eating disorders, or other addictive behaviors. This group takes place weekly on Tuesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

SMART Recovery stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training, and is a non-12 step, peer-support program that uses a self-empowering approach to addiction recovery and behavior change. The group is welcome to anyone seeking support and hands-on coping skills for addictive behaviors and takes place weekly on Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Zen Recovery is a peer-led support group that uses the Buddhist principles and text of Recovery Dharma to help students recovering from substance use disorders, eating disorders, and/or addiction navigate their recovery journeys. The group is held weekly on Fridays from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

UT Health Wellness 360 counseling center offers students short-term, individual counseling sessions for mental health concerns. After hours, the Crisis Helpline is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week by calling 210-458-4140 option 3. Students can also receive confidential mental health and well-being support from any location by phone, chat and video support any time on the My Student Support Program (MySSP) app.

Access RowdyLink to learn more about upcoming support meetings and events offered by the Recovery Center and Wellbeing Services or apply to join the Roadrunner Recovery Community.

On February 21, UTSA Recovery and UTSA Wellbeing hosted Southern Smash, a unique and empowering scale-smashing event from the National Alliance for Eating Disorders that educates about eating disorders, celebrates all bodies, and embraces self-love. The event included resources from the San Antonio community like Esperanza Eating Disorders Center and the Eating Recovery Center of San Antonio. In addition, many UTSA student organizations participated in the event including Active Minds, The Association of Black Psychologists, Womxn in Medicine, NEDA Campus Warriors, Prism, and the Panhellenic Council.

Emily Hahn

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