Jayden Drake and his wife Sarah talk about mental health issues. Jayden teaches a course over zoom for teens for the National Alliance for Mental Illness.
LOGAN – When Jayden Drake, a 22-year-old sophomore at Utah State University, was in his mid-teen’s he started to hallucinate. He saw spiders, big spiders that would chase him and he also started to hear voices. His worried parents took him to University of Utah Medical Center to find out what was going on with their son.
The first thing the doctors looked for were any physical conditions that might cause his issues.
“All of the physical tests came back negative. The doctors for a month couldn’t find anything wrong with me,” Drake said, sitting next to his wife Sarah in their Logan Apartment. “So, I was admitted to the physiocratic ward where the doctors diagnosed me with schizoaffective and bipolar disorder. I was there for about a month.”
With medication and therapy he now lives a normal life. Drake recognizes the signs of mental struggles and what he needs to do to get control of himself. He continues to take medication and gets therapy as needed, lately only a few times a year.
“Since I was diagnosed and had therapy, I haven’t had any problems. I served a local service mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” he said. “I met my wife Sarah at a singles ward and she also served a mission to England.”
Sarah and Drake met in 2019 and were married in 2020 and to this point she has never seen any sign of mental health issues in her husband.
“She is the best,” he said.
Drake is fired up about helping teens going through the same kind of things he was going through as a teen. He speaks at youth gatherings and gives them encouragement to talk to someone and get help.
“I teach courses for teens for NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) in Logan. Right now I teach the Progression course using Zoom,” he said. “I tell them they are not alone, and there is help available.”
There are people who need to know that there are others going through what they are experiencing.
“We need to end the stigma and silence that goes along with mental issues,” he said. “One in five Americans don’t seek help because of the stigma attached to mental health issues.”
Drake said NAMI has lot of resources to help individuals and their parents dealing with mental health issues.
“There is a lot that can be done with a diagnosis and most can be treated by medication and therapy,” he said. “I have family members that have been diagnosed with other issues, but I am the only one in the family that has what I have.”
NAMI in Logan is located at 90 E. 200 N., in Logan and, due to the coronavirus pandemic, appointments, masks and temperature checks are required. For more details, call (435) 752-0750.
This year the 2021 Utah State Legislature is making inroads into helping teems with mental health issues.
Rep. Val L. Peterson, R-District 59 in Orem, introduced a bill that creates and establishes duties for the Education and Mental Health Coordinating Council. The group would make certain findings and recommendations regarding behavioral health support to youth and families within the state.
They will also provide action-oriented guidance to legislative and other state leaders on how to meet the behavioral health needs including mental health and substance abuse issues.
Rep. Mike Winder, R-District 30 in West Valley City, and Sen. Lincoln Filmore, R-District 10 in Salt Lake County, are introducing a bill to add mental or behavioral health as a valid excuse for a school absence.
Rep. Brian S. King, D-District 28 in Salt Lake County, introduced a bill that amends provisions related to youth suicide prevention. The bill requires school districts and charter schools to ensure coordination between youth suicide prevention programs and certain other prevention programs.