Miss North Dakota USA 2019 speaks out on mental health and social media


One in five American adults suffers from mental illness each year, according to the National Mental Health Alliance.

Several studies show that using social media can lead to an increased risk of having poor mental health or mental illness.

Over the weekend, Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst took her own life after jumping from her apartment building.

Looking at her social media posts, many people were shocked to learn that she had mental health issues.

“There’s a lot of pressure to make your Instagram feed look perfect,” said Samantha Redding, Miss North Dakota USA 2019. “And when people think your Instagram feed or Facebook posts are your real life, it can be really misleading.”

Redding met Kyrst while they were both competing for Miss USA.

“She was Miss North Carolina USA and being from North Dakota, we were side by side for two weeks,” Redding said. “And those two weeks you really get to know people, so she and I became pretty close friends.”

She says people feel the need to hide their issues whether they’re in the spotlight or not.

“I feel like it’s a very common thing to feel that way,” Redding said. “Not just as a title holder, but as someone who strives to achieve great things in general.”

When Redding heard the news, she says she was in shock.

“As more stories came out and we were able to talk to her family and other close people who knew her, it was just a state of disbelief like when someone really suddenly passes by,” Redding said.

More than 12 million people in the United States had serious suicidal thoughts in 2020, according to the National Alliance for Mental Health.

“What we have to understand is that sometimes it’s like a wave of bricks that might hit that person,” said Angela Metz, mental health counselor at Mindful Health Counseling & Wellness. “And I think one of the big things we can do in that support system is be there to listen to them and validate where they are at. And let them know they’re not alone.

Metz says if someone is having a mental health crisis or thinking about suicide, there are a lot of things they should do.

“I think it’s very important for all of us to take a more serious look at self-care,” Metz said. “Have that support system. Ask for help even when you feel like we don’t have time. This is when we need it the most. And then, know the resources that are available in your community so that when you need them, they are there for you.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

If you’re in crisis and need someone to talk to, text HOME at 741741 to reach a volunteer crisis counsellor.


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