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UMD senior Kalynn Tilton, majoring in health care management, works to end the mental health stigma on campus.
She’s had involvement with this club since it was started by her cousin and friends she grew up with. She feels compelled to “continue the legacy of YouMatter.”
The unique quality about YouMatter is that “it is the only group on campus that focuses on the stigma of mental health and works to improve suicide prevention,” says Kalynn. A big part of the YouMatter club is to educate those who don’t have much knowledge on mental health as well as using the club as an “access for all” network for students to feel comfortable checking out.
Kalynn says her involvement with YouMatter is rewarding because of the impact it has on the members of the club and community around her. For Kalynn, “seeing people feel comfortable to talk and share their story is inspiring.” There’s a confidence that can be found in those who feel comfortable to share their story. “Mental health issues can affect anyone. Being able to recognize the signs aren’t always obvious.” Kalynn explains. YouMatter is an open, safe club to be able to share your story or meet with members individually to get support. Kalynn mentions, “there are many resources on and off campus that students may not know about.” This club also helps connect students with resources.
The YouMatter club partners with other clubs and organizations to get their name out on campus and around Duluth. They’ve done joint events with organizations including TKE’s speak out night, they’ve partnered with the softball team for a mental health day, they have resources around the Twin Ports, and they sell bracelets for the Band Together initiative with Student Association to work towards ending the mental health stigma. “The physical representation of a bracelet helps to say you’re showing your support for mental health, and it’s one way to recognize that support on campus,” says Kalynn. YouMatter also focuses on stress relief activities to help members de-stress during busy times of the year.
There’s been a more supportive environment around UMD on mental health, but there’s always more that could be done. Kalynn mentions, “YouMatter can act as a middleman in some ways if members feel as if they’d like more support outside of campus.” YouMatter has become a popular club. So popular in fact, that it’s spread to other college campuses in the Twin Cities and Mankato.UMD’s YouMatter has 15-20 regular members and is open to all who want to join. The club meets every other Thursday in Cina 106 at 7:30 p.m. Kalynn believes it’s important to check on all of your friends. Even the ones who seem like they have it “together.” From Kalynn, “don’t forget to check on your strong friends. You may not know what everyone is going through and even your “strong” friends need a check in from time to time.”
YouMatter was recently nominated for UMD's Featherman Award, which serves to publicly recognize and honor the student(s) who has best encouraged greater understanding between diverse groups by personal example, actions, and accomplishment. Successful award recipients must have exhibited and demonstrated compassion and sensitivity and taken positive steps toward helping others understand one another and work together. Award recipients will be announced on Monday, April 29.
Photo: From left to right: YouMatter team members Jackson Eidsvold, Alec Kemp, Lucas Houska, Kalynn Tilton, and Emma O’Connor.
Learn more about the Labovitz School of Business and Economics' health care management program.