Students raise mental health awareness in form of ‘Eye Matter’

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Shelby Rich

New Eye Matter apparel designed by juniors Shelby Rich and Scarlett Campbell

As suicide prevention continues to be a major cause and focus on teens, juniors Shelby Rich and Scarlett Campbell created their own suicide prevention brand “Eye Matter” to spread awarness towards mental health.

Eye Matter released their first hat during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the two girls saw a lot of people around them struggling mentally. They agreed it was a perfect time to take action in their fight against depression and mental health struggles. Shelby Rich says “quarantine affected people’s mental health tremendously, and people didn’t know how to cope with their feelings. We felt that no one should feel like they are battling alone, and that there are other people around the world who are struggling like them.”

When asking Scarlett and Shelby about how they created the name “Eye Matter,” Scarlett Campbell says the name “suggests the importance of looking at the bigger, brighter picture even when it feels impossible at times. It also connects to the power of empathy and how we will never truly understand or know what other people are going through, which is why it is so crucial to be kind and respectful to everyone.” Shelby Rich adds that the two are “trying to preach that it is always crucial to be kind because you never truly know what someone is going through.”

Their sense of perspective is so high, as the girls understand that everyone is going through something.

Shelby and Scarlett want to loosen the stigma around mental health. Shelby Rich says “[We] want people to feel less alone and help them understand that just because they may be struggling mentally, does not mean that they are worth any less. People should feel heard and recognized.” Scarlett Campbell adds that “[our] message with Eye Matter is that you are not alone in your struggles and you are so much more than just an illness” in their fight against suicide prevention.

The creation of Eye Matter came from Scarlett’s and Shelby’s own mental health struggles. Their motivation to spread awareness to the cause has come from their very own personal battles.

Scarlett, an active member throughout Bernards High School in clubs such as Best Buddies, Peer Leaders, and Key Club, along with two jobs outside of a busy school schedule, mentions that she’s “grown up battling severe depression and with Eye Matter, I want to be the voice that I always needed, but never had. I want to raise awareness and show my peers that they will not be shamed or seen as a failure for talking about mental health or wanting to seek help for what they are going through and also remind everyone that they should check on their “happy” friends too.”

Shelby, a varsity field hockey and winter track athlete and peer leader, mentions that “[I] have very bad anxiety, and it used to stop me from doing many things that I enjoyed doing, but I’m learning to control it and how to cope with it. I tend to hide my feelings from my family and friends, but I’ve come to the realization that it’s ok to not be ok, and needing to talk to someone is 100% fine. Many people feel that they need to fake it til they make it, but that’s very mentally draining, and it frankly made me feel worse. I want people to know that things will get better, and that suicide is never the answer.”

Despite their own mental health struggles, Shelby and Scarlett made it their own goal to help others around them fight and bring awareness to suicide prevention. By bringing awareness to the cause, the girls show their community how much they care, and that everybody deserves to know that they matter, and that they always will.

Eye Matter has also released their first sweatshirts via their Instagram page: eye.matter_. To purchase a sweatshirt, Direct Message the page on Instagram to order, and as 15% of each item is donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.