Fardaws Aimaq speaks out about the rise in mental health issues on college campuses across the nation

Fardaws Aimaq prepares himself mentally to shoot a free throw. Photo Courtesy of Fardaws Aimaq.

In the fall of 2020, multiple researchers from Boston University surveyed 33,000 college students that showed the widespread impact of anxiety, depression, and loneliness on campuses across the country. The results of the survey concluded that nearly half of the students questioned screened positive for depression or anxiety. 

While just a redshirt sophomore, UVU standout center Fardaws Aimaq has seen this rise of mental health issues among his peers firsthand. 

“I’ve just seen a big trend in people talking about this issue more in-depth.,” Aimaq said. “It’s very serious and people need to know, whatever it is, if they need help, if they are struggling with something, they are not alone at the end of the day.” 

The UVU Review had previously published a story that featured Aimaq’s suggestion for those who might be struggling with any mental health issues. Aimaq said he wanted to speak out about these issues more after a fan had read his words in the article and approached him to talk about it.  

“It was a touching moment for me. It made me understand that what you say and the impact you have on people, is obviously not the impact that someone like Lebron James might have, but what you say and what you do has a big effect on people.” Aimaq said. 

Aimaq also hopes that his story, while unique, will be able to help those who might be struggling to see the good in their own life. 

“People look at us as athletes or anyone that’s in a blessed position and think ‘you know this guy, there’s nothing wrong with him, his life should be perfect’ when that’s not the case at all,” Aimaq said. “There’s a lot of people in those situations and you see people who come from wealthy families who struggle with things, or someone who is the best athlete or the best student in their area of school. That has no attachment to whatever goes on in your brain and I think that is something really important to be aware of.” 

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in 2019 men died by suicide 3.63x as often as women. Aimaq shared his opinion on the stigma surrounding men seldom opening up and sharing their thoughts and feelings for fear of being labeled as less of a man. “The one thing that I have seen with myself, especially recently, I’ll hold things inside and I feel like it is more of a burden for me to express what is going on and I’ve really learned how unhealthy that is for your brain and for your body and especially for the people you love. It’s something we need to avoid.” 

Aimaq said there are primarily two reasons that men are more prone to not talking about their problems with others. The first is out of fear that they will be considered less masculine and the other is to avoid being a burden by throwing their problems on others. 

“Asking for help and understanding that when you’re not okay, it’s okay to say you’re not okay. It’s hard, but people have to go through their own journey to figure out what their way of dealing with it is.” 

Aimaq also offered different ways that he has been able to take care of his mental health. One of which is a daily reminder that he wears around his arm, a wristband that says Whatever It Takes. Aimaq said that whenever he is having a bad day, it’s always a reminder to do whatever it takes to get back on the right path, even if it’s not right away. 

The bracelet that Fardaws Aimaq wears to remind himself to do whatever it takes. Photo Courtesy of Fardaws Aimaq.

Another suggestion Aimaq gave was the practice of journal writing and putting the pen to paper to allow himself to share his feelings.

“Journal writing for me has been huge. Just being able to express whatever you are feeling, whether it’s happiness or being sad, anger or whatever it is. Having the ability to grab that pen and putting your emotions in that pen and just writing it out. It helped me out a ton to just focus on living in the present.” 

UVU students struggling with their mental health can receive help through UVU’s Mental Health Services located in room 221 of the Sorenson Center. Students can go online to book an appointment or walk in to talk to someone in person. For any crisis, after normal operating hours, students can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or

Text “START” to 741-741 to connect with a counselor at Crisis Text Line. 

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