Rising University of Georgia senior Michael Scullin suffered from depression at the beginning of his freshman year.
At the end of his freshman year, he attempted to commit suicide. After this, he made the decision to never let depression affect him again. He would not let that one moment define him.
Scullin wanted to do more to help the mental health community, so in March of this year, Scullin created Happy Outfitters — a clothing line dedicated to self-identification, mental health awareness and feeling comfortable in your own skin. Scullin wants the company to help those affected by mental illness to know it does not define them.
“I felt like I had to create a self-identification thing because I really struggled with that,” Scullin said.
Scullin, a mechanical engineering major, played on the UGA football team his freshman, sophomore and junior years but decided not to play this year to focus on his degree.
One of the shirts offered by Happy Outfitters simply states, “I’m me.” The shirt is meant to emphasize that mental health is no one’s defining quality. Everyone should be able to decide who they are and embrace that person, Scullin said.
“You’re your own person for a lot of different reasons whether they’re good or bad, and you can’t let one thing define you,” Scullin said.
Scullin, who is self-funding the company, said the greatest challenge has been selling the shirts for $24 because while many college students like the logo, they are turned off by the cost.
Happy Outfitters occasionally offers sales, and Scullin said his friends have been supportive and have bought some shirts.
A dollar per shirt goes to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Scullin, however, hopes the company continues to grow and brings in more profit, so he can do more to help.
“I want to help with mental health,” Scullin said. “Making sure people are OK is my passion.”
A feature on Happy Outfitters’ website gives customers an opportunity to share their story. The buyer can send an email containing their picture wearing a Happy Outfitters shirt along with a short story about an experience that shaped who they are.
The picture and story will be uploaded to the company’s Instagram account with the hashtag #FacesofHappyOutfitters.
“You can’t be anybody else but you, and I’m proud of Michael for encompassing that in a T-shirt,” wrote UGA football player Jeb Blazevich on the website, pictured wearing the “I’m me.” T-shirt offered by Happy Outfitters.
By giving people the chance to define who they are, Scullin wants to start a push towards changing the way mental health is viewed by society.
“I want mental issues to be more commonly talked about in society,” Scullin said. “It needs a greater level of comfortability.”
Scullin recently wrote a children’s book with this message, and he is currently in the process of getting the book published. The book focuses on talking about mental health issues at a young age.
“I just want people to be able to talk about it,” Scullin said. “I don’t want people to ever be where I was.”