The notice on her door told her she needed to leave her home in five days.
“We have been made aware that you have vocalized suicidal tendencies which has caused undo (sic) stress and alarm to your roommates and violated your lease,” the letter signed by an apartment manager says.
The woman who received this notice spoke to 2News on Wednesday under the condition of anonymity. She says she is being kicked out of her apartment at the Ventana Student Housing in Orem because of her struggles with mental health.
The reason they were kicking me out was because of my depression and my suicidal thoughts, which just only made them worse — and it would make it worse for anyone having to find somewhere else to live,” she said.
The woman says she moved into the complex a few months ago and planned to stay for a year. She says she had open discussions with her roommates about her mental health, but those conversations, she believes, were turned against her after a recent dispute.
“They used my mental challenges to their benefit ... I was asking for help and that is the opposite of what I got,” she said.
For now, she is staying with family in Utah County while she figures out a new living arrangement. Her next step may involve a lawyer from the Disability Law Center of Utah.
“There’s a lot of stigma around mental illness. At this point, I think we would hope to see people respond better to someone in this situation,” said Nate Crippes, a staff attorney at the Disability Law Center.
Crippes says the woman may have options at a state and federal level.
Frankly, that appears to be blatant discrimination under the Fair Housing Act,” Crippes said.
The act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.
“This appears to be somebody who has vocalized a symptom of a disability, like mental illness,” Crippes said. “This just seems particularly heinous for a person to take this action against someone.”
The woman says she plans to contact the Disability Law Center about the case in the coming days.
"I just want to be done with this, but I don’t want it to happen to anyone else,” she said.
2News called Ventana Student Housing multiple times Wednesday seeking comment and to verify the authenticity of the letter, but calls were not returned. When 2News went to the leasing office, as well as the address for the registered owners of the complex, no answer was received.
Ventana Student Housing is located close to, but is not affiliated with Utah Valley University. The woman attended school at UVU and plans to return to class there next semester. The university released the following statement to 2News:
"While this person is not a student at Utah Valley University, our hearts go out to her and those who struggle with mental health issues. We are hopeful the apartment managers at the Ventana housing complex will be able to work with her to solve her contract issue.
Utah Valley University does not own student housing on or off campus. The University provides an online list of rental complexes around the Orem Campus as a convenience to students, faculty, and staff. The list clearly states that UVU does not endorse or approve any of the landlords, properties, and business practices."
If you or someone you know feel hopeless or in crisis, resources are available. Call the national suicide prevention 24-hour lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. A list of area-specific suicide and crisis prevention hotlines in Utah can be found here.
Utah students can reach out for mental health support through the SafeUT app.