Utah sisters launch company to spread mental health awareness

LEHI, Utah — Melanie Haskins and Alisha Petersen are sisters on a mission.

“This says, ‘Some of your best days haven’t happened yet,'” Haskins read on a sweatshirt that sat on his kitchen counter.

The two sisters recently launched a small clothing line called “No Norm, and are very open about their goals.

“This is our goal to continue to end stigma,” Haskins explained. “And whatever people are dealing with, that’s fine.”

Two years ago, Haskins’ daughter came to her and told the young mother that she was in a dark place. Haskins did what most parents would do. She blamed herself.

“I don’t know if anything can really prepare you for this,” Haskins cried as she recalled that time. “My first thought is that I had failed somehow, I had failed her.”

The following months became a crash course in learning more about depression, social media, and the statistics that shocked it.

“The pediatrician commented to me that as of 2020, he spends most of his day writing prescriptions or prescribing psychological or treatment appointments for children,” she said.

Melanie Haskins (left) and her sister Alisha Petersen (right) talk about their experiences with mental health. (KSLTV)

Haskins then realized that the problem was widespread and knew it needed to do something more.

She reached out to her younger sister, who has been battling OCD and depression for years.

“I’ve struggled with OCD and anxiety since I was about 14,” Petersen said.

And for many of those years, she hid her battle until it came to a head in her early adulthood. The sisters started brainstorming.

“I felt very inspired that, um, as I was going through kind of the depth of this with my daughter, that it was going to be so much more than just a moment of time,” Haskins said. Petersen agreed.

They wanted something that teens gravitated towards and opened up conversations about depression, sadness, and other so-called “mental illnesses.”

The two landed on sweatshirts with positive messages.

The words hit Kenlee Burt hard. A year and a half ago she attempted suicide, which is hard to imagine when he talks to her. She is an enthusiastic teenager with stylish hair, a perfect smile and an obvious zest for life. But, during her senior year of high school, her world started to fall apart on her.

“I was balancing volleyball, school plus sports, work, friends, family; it just wasn’t working for me,” he recalled. “I woke up the next morning in the hospital so angry, I was angry at my mom for finding me that night and taking me to the hospital;

A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control shows that in 2021 nearly 3 out of 5 teenage girls felt consistently sad or hopeless. Those numbers became apparent to Haskins and Petersen after their initial pitch.

“For the first few weeks, it was really a bit heavy,” Haskins said.

Heavy because the women had opened real stories, not just statistics of children in difficulty.

Stories started pouring into their Instagram site, and the two quickly realized how important their work was.

Stories like Kenlee’s have only deepened Melanie and Alisha’s commitment to bringing open and meaningful conversations to the surface. Their hope is the messages on their clothes: “It’s you, not them,” “Your story isn’t over,” and “It won’t be like this forever” will open the door to help those in need.

They certainly hit the mark for Kenlee, who, even on her rough days, said she read the patch on her left arm and actually believed it.

“I know my best days are still to come.”

You can follow No Norm Co on Instagram or visit their website.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or showing warning signs, call, text or chat with 988 Suicide and Lifeline Crisis TO 988 which are answered 24/7/365 by crisis counselors at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute. All calls to legacy crisis hotlines, including the old National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-8255, will also connect to a crisis support worker at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute.

Additional Resources

  • SafeUT: Parents, students and educators can connect with an authorized crisis counselor via chat by downloading the file SafeUT app or by calling 833-3SAFEUT (833-372-3388)
  • SafeUT on the front line: First responders, including firefighters, law enforcement, 911, and healthcare professionals can chat with a free licensed crisis counselor 24/7/365 downloading the Frontline SafeUT app.
  • SafeUTNG: Members of the National Guard can chat for free with a licensed crisis counselor 24/7/365 by downloading the SafeUTNG app.
  • Utah hotline: For non-crisis situations, when you need a listening ear as you heal and recover from a personal struggle, call 1-833 SPEAKUT from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., 7 days a week, 365 days a week. year.
  • THE Huntsman Mental Health Institute offers a wide variety of programs and services including suicide prevention and crisis services, hospice care, medication therapy and management, substance use and addiction recovery, children and adolescent programs, and maternal mental health services among including birth trauma, pregnancy loss, infertility, and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
  • LiveOnUtah.org is a statewide effort to prevent suicide by promoting education, providing resources, and changing Utah’s culture around suicide and mental health. They offer resources for religious groups, LGBTQ+, youth, employers, gun suicide prevention, and crisis and treatment options.

Other community-based resources

Workplace Mental Health Center offers suicide prevention and response for employers.

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