Yves Clouzet is the Director of the Music Dept. at Campion Academy. His wife, Melissa Clouzet directs the Mountain Echoes Chorale and Koinonia. Everyone knows about his love and passion for music, but not many know of the struggles he faced with academics and mental health as a college student, and how God helped him to overcome them.
Mr. Clouzet was born in Argentina into a Seventh-day Adventist family. He grew up within a family that was very intentional about family worship at home and going over Sabbath School lessons daily. He knew religion as a way of life for his parents and something that everyone just did normally. His family eventually moved to the United States so that his father could enroll in Andrews University for post-graduate studies.
Mr. Clouzet went to Andrews Academy, where he had many opportunities for spiritual activities and growth. It was during a weekend teen spiritual retreat that Mr. Clouzet was faced with a stark reality. “I vaguely remember who spoke, but he spoke in such a way about Jesus and His Love for me that it convicted me of two things beyond a shadow of a doubt: ‘Jesus really, truly, and passionately Loves ME! I know every fact there was to know about Jesus and His life as written in the Bible, but I don’t truly, really, know-know Him.’” Mr. Clouzet realized that Jesus was everything and that he desperately needed a real relationship with Him.
“During the last meeting that Sabbath evening, the speaker played the final scene from The Visual Bible: Matthew. It is where Jesus gives His ‘Great Commission’ and where the book of Matthew ends. It was such a powerful image of Christ assuring me that He was always going to be with me and that He needed me to tell others about what He has done for me. What a privilege and honor!” That is when Mr. Clouzet, although already baptized several years prior, truly understood what it was to give his whole life to Jesus.
However, when Mr. Clouzet got to college, things began to go downhill. “My mother home-schooled me until I completed the 2nd grade. She really pushed me and I quickly realized that I was able to do things most 3rd graders couldn’t do when I finally joined “real” school. It was like this all the way up to when I graduated from academy. I always felt comfortable in a classroom and never really felt challenged. Sure, I studied for tests and completed assignments, but I don’t remember much anxiety and stress over academics. I can remember that there were a few assignments that great teachers assigned me during my senior year that really pushed me, but I just didn’t complete them because I got too used to not having to work hard. This should have been a warning flag for what was to come for me, but I just ignored it.”
With a perfectionist mindset, coupled with not being fully prepared for the rigors and demands of college, it was a blow mentally for Mr. Clouzet every time he fell short of his own high expectations that he set for himself during his first year of college. He began struggling mentally, which led to a depressive state. At that time, his relationship with Jesus had waned severely. Out of pride and shame, Mr. Clouzet didn’t ask for help from anyone. This went on for several years and this self-destructive cycle had gotten him to the point that he was about to get kicked out of the Education Program at Andrews University.
In a last-gasp effort to help him, the faculty at the Education Program called a meeting with Mr. Clouzet. “All five of my professors at the program were there, and I basically had to make a case for why I still had what it takes to be a great teacher. I gave that speech everything I had, took responsibility for my actions, and let them know I was fully aware that I deserved no second chance. By that point, it was probably a fourth or fifth chance! But I just asked them to take another chance on me and that I would not disappoint them, since I now owed it to not just myself, but to God, them, my family, and Mrs. Clouzet; who was my girlfriend of three years at the time.”
“They asked me to step outside and they talked behind closed doors for what seemed like an eternity. Then they invited me back in and they voted right there in front of me with a raised hand for a yes. Slowly, three hands went up, and to this day I am eternally grateful for those kind teachers who believed in me when no one else would. By the grace of God, I was able to continue in the program. It was by far the most anxiety-filled moment that I have lived through to this day, and I have had to ask Mr. Anderson to marry his daughter! Ha!”
As part of the ultimatum, Mr. Clouzet’s teachers required that he immediately seek mental health therapy with a licensed professional. It was there that he finally began getting the help he needed. He rebooted his prayer life and allowed God to help him surrender the destructive things he was holding on to in his life. Although his family knew there was something wrong, they were able to pray more specifically for his needs once he was willing to admit what he was going through.
God helped him overcome his depression, and a year later Mr. Clouzet successfully graduated from Andrews University. He got married six months after that, and has continued to pursue his career in music education ever since.
Mr. Clouzet explains that he perceives three key factors that helped him turn his life around. “The first one would be the unrelenting prayer warriors in my life. I know for a fact that my mother and father never ceased to pray for me daily, especially when I was traversing through that dark time in my life. God heard their prayers and He was able to steer my life in the right direction. I know for a fact that they still pray for me each and every single day.”
The second factor was getting help from a counselor and opening up to the important people in his life. “Besides their prayers, my parents always supported me and let me know that they would always love me no matter what happened. Mrs. Clouzet, who was my girlfriend at the time, believed in me and stood up for me, despite people in her life telling her that I was a dead-end and that she was wasting her time with me. Those three teachers at Andrews University who believed in me and saw what no one else could see in me. They saw past all my shortcomings and failures, and gave me a chance despite all the evidence stacked against me.
“Finally, the lasting impression of all my spiritual upbringing had a huge influence in the turnaround God orchestrated in my life (pun totally intended). I could never shake the convictions that the Holy Spirit ingrained in my mind during Sabbath School, in Bible class, in youth rallies, during evangelistic series, etc. Those were the convictions that helped me to truly see how God was working in my life; and despite my rebellions and self-destructive tendencies, He never gave up on me and was always willing to help me out.”
“I see students with the same look that I had on my face when I was struggling with mental health; I am more than certain that there are many students who struggle with this on our campus. These individuals need to know that it is more than okay to talk about it with someone you trust and ask for help. I didn’t do this for a long time and it was a self-destructive behavior that I was living with that cost me dearly. I could’ve avoided a lot of pain had I asked for help sooner.”
Yves Clouzet with Bela Cinco
Campion’s journalism class is doing a research series on mental health to bring education and awareness to the impact of mental health issues on their generation. Stayed tuned to read a new article on the topic each week over the next month. We are very grateful to the staff and students who are bravely sharing their experiences. Mental health issues such as discouragement, anxiety, and depression impact everyone in one way or another. Campion Academy’s nurse is a mental health professional and encourages students to seek assistance when needed. The chaplain's office is another source of help for students.