UVU’s newest club focuses on helping students with mental illness

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The opening social for UVU’s mental health club UV YOU Matter was held in the Science Building March 6.

Adam Tonks, club president and biochemistry major, and Maria Stephens, club vice president and digital marketing major, planned for the social to be more of an informational meeting to help students know what to expect from the club and their plans for the coming semesters.

“I’ve had a lot of mental illness within my family. … I have seen some great support for those people, and I’ve also seen it handled not so well,” Tonks said. “What I’d really love to do here is —  because I know that it is an issue that’s everywhere — I hope to reach out to those students who think that help is not here and be able to improve the quality of their lives.”

Stephens discussed her experience with mental illness

“I served an LDS mission [and] I came home after 2 months for depression and anxiety. “While I was out, I had a really toxic mission companion who didn’t really know what was going on, and I was told that I was weak, rebellious, dramatic, and I was flat out told that everyone would be better off if I just wasn’t around,” Stephens said. “So I really know that it’s important to have love and support.”

Tonks and Stephens said that the club’s mission is to provide education about mental illness for those who don’t understand it, provide support for students in hopes of eliminating the stigmas that surround mental illness, and advocate for students with mental illness so they won’t be ignored.

Tonks also said that the club plans on collaborating and working directly with the National Alliance of Mental Illness to provide better services to students on campus including support groups and training.

“It’s a very prevalent thing here at UVU, even though we may not see it. I for one would have no idea,” Tonks said. “I mean, we walk through the halls and we don’t really realize and understand who is going through this and who needs that help. We hope to be that help.”