PROVO, Utah – Brigham Young University Junior Julian Lee Qualls is a third degree black belt in taekwando. On the dojang floor, a person would never be able to tell he battles depression.
Qualls shared that he “started experiencing low days, a lack of motivation, three or four months before I finished my mission.”
He said it took a little while to realize and accept what was happening.
“After a series of therapy sessions with a counselor, talking with doctors, things like that, about a year later I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder,” Qualls said.
A recent survey done by BYU Public Relation students shows Qualls’ experience is not necessarily unique here at BYU. The survey of 670 students showed 99 percent of students either struggle with mental health issues or know someone who does. The PR students are raising awareness through their website, knowthesignsbyu.com.
“The message we’re trying to get out is that mental health is just as important as physical health,” said Brooke Adams, a member of the campaign team.
A common theme throughout their study was the idea of perfectionism.
“We have a mentality of almost of ‘Okay, if I’m a good BYU student, a good Mormon, then I should be happy, and if I am not happy then I must be doing something wrong,'” campaign member Alec Sears said.
Qualls offered some advice to anyone who thinks they are struggling with mental health issues.
“Something like anxiety or depression sometimes is just beyond your control, and so you have to do other things, too, like talk to a doctor,” he said.
People can use the hashtag #Knowthesigns to share their thoughts on mental health. Visit the campaign’s website to explore campus resources available to students.
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