AMHERST, N.Y. -- More students are taking advantage of counseling services at the University at Buffalo. And for at least one student, these services are changing her life.
"I have chronic pain. Chronic back pain, and it began to be debilitating," says UB student Mardi Mangus.
About three years ago, Mangus, an exercise science and physical therapy major, knew she wanted to make a change.
"I stopped doing the things that I was able to do, like stop having to run, bike, hike, exercise, which is a huge part of my life. So, when that got taken away, I really didn't know who I was," she says.
From the first time Mangus met with her therapist at UB Counseling Services, she knew she made the right decision.
"I did not know how to talk about my emotions. I was never taught how to do that, and she was the first person that was like, it's okay to do that. Like it's okay to cry," says Mangus of her therapist. "So, for two years, I built this relationship with her. And it changed my life. She saved my life."
And Mangus is not alone. From 2012 to 2017, the number of students seeking UB Counseling Services jumped 20-percent.
"We've done a lot of things to sort of de-stigmatize mental health, and I think that it's paid off," says Sharon Mitchell.
Mitchell has been with UB for 15 years. She is the Senior Director of Student Wellness. When Mitchell first started, there were only eight counselors on staff. Now, there are 20 full time staff members.
"I think the biggest shift, and this is not just a UB shift, but it's a national shift, would be in the number of students who are feeling anxious and feeling stress. A lot of students just really feel overwhelmed. I think in part it's because they never shut off," says Mitchell.
UB has online resources where students can do self-directed work focusing on anxiety, stress-management and more at any time.
Mangus is thankful for her two years with her UB therapist. She is now seeing a psychologist outside the school.
Mangus told us she is now doing okay.
“Up and down a lot of the time, but more stable because I have an incredible, incredible support system around me. And if I didn't have those people, I wouldn't be where I am today," says Mangus.