Teen and Miss USA Contestants Step Down as Title Holders, Describing their Decision as Personal Value and Mental Health: The Influence of Mental Health on the Lives of the Youth and Suggestions for Raising Awareness among Older Youth and Young Adults.

By Chineye Toulassi Maouna

The reigning Miss USA and Miss Teen USA recently resigned from their titles, marking the first time in the pageant’s 70-year history. Claudia Engelhardt, a former social media manager for the organisation, alleges a toxic workplace environment and poor leadership led to the resignations. According to Engelhardt, concerns raised by the titleholders regarding mental health and incidents of harassment were ignored. Miss USA Noelia Voigt cited personal reasons, emphasising the importance of mental well-being, in her resignation letter, while Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava mentioned a misalignment of values within the organization. Both titleholders are reportedly bound by nondisclosure agreements preventing them from speaking out about their experiences. Engelhardt claims that the organisation also exerted control over the titleholders’ social media accounts, further suppressing their voices.

Miss Teen USA 2023, UmaSofia Srivastava’s unexpected resignation, prompted the offer of the crown to Miss New York Teen USA, Stephanie Skinner. Despite the allure of the title, Skinner declined, prioritising her integrity and focusing on her academic pursuits at the Wharton School, stating that “integrity and character lead her to prioritise her personal journey over the crown.”

It’s essential to recognise that individuals in these roles often face intense scrutiny, demanding schedules, and pressure to maintain a certain image. This can take a toll on their well-being and lead them to reassess their priorities. However, it’s not uncommon for titleholders to step down due to the challenges associated with their roles, seeking to prioritise their mental health, education, or other opportunities, which leads to the question bugging everyone’s mind as to how mental health issues can be identified and tackled.

The end of high school can be a tumultuous time for high school graduates and young adults in their late teens and early twenties as they embark on new journeys such as higher education, employment, or military service. This transition period often brings about intense emotions, increasing the risk of mental health issues. Parents, peers, teachers, and coworkers must understand and support individuals during this pivotal time. Clinical psychologist Emily Bilek, Ph.D., and clinical social worker Natalie Burns, LMSW, emphasise several key points on mental health awareness:

  1. Mental health conditions result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors, with many emerging during adolescence and young adulthood.
  2. All emotions, including sadness and fear, are valid and should be acknowledged rather than suppressed.
  3. Sudden changes in behaviour or functioning may indicate the need for professional help.
  4. Social media can negatively impact mental health across all age groups, and it’s essential to validate concerns and promote healthy usage.
  5. The pandemic has had lasting effects on teenagers and young adults, including increased feelings of isolation and instability.
  6. Self-worth should not be tied to external achievements, such as academic success.
  7. Encouraging young adults to seek mental health care and involving them in treatment decisions can lead to better outcomes.
  8. Exploring various treatment options, including therapy and medication, is essential for the effective management of anxiety and depression.
  9. Creating inclusive and affirming spaces for LGBTQ+ individuals can help reduce mental health disparities.
  10. Open conversations about suicide risk and prevention are crucial for saving lives, and resources are available for those in need of support.

In conclusion, To support young adults struggling with mental health, it’s crucial to foster open communication and offer non-judgmental support. Encouraging individuals to seek professional help and respecting their comfort levels are essential. In severe cases, consider a mental health intervention to help individuals recognise their need for professional support. Crisis interventions and interventions for worsening symptoms can provide immediate assistance. It’s important to be patient and understanding throughout the process. Additionally, various resources are available, including national advocacy organisations, professional associations, local mental health departments, employer or healthcare provider programmes, and school counselling services.

To read more on mental health awareness in young adults, visit: https://medicine.umich.edu/dept/psychiatry/news/archive/202206/10-mental-health-awareness-tips-older-teens-young-adults

Sources: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2024/05/10/miss-usa-teen-pageant-resignations/f8cd196c-0f0e-11ef-ae0a-a6870885518d_story.html





Source of image: Inside Edition

Scroll to Top