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

One in five U.S. adults experiences mental illness each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health.

Multiple studies show social media usage can lead to an increased risk of having poor mental health or a mental illness.

Over the weekend, Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst died by suicide after jumping from her apartment building.

Looking at her social media posts, many people were shocked to learn she was struggling with her mental health.

“There’s a lot of pressure to make your Instagram feed seem like it is perfect,” said Miss North Dakota USA 2019 Samantha Redding. “And when people think that your Instagram feed or Facebook posts are your real life, then 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 right next to each other in line for two weeks,” said Redding. “And those two weeks you really get to know people so her and I became pretty close friends.”

She says people feel the need to hide their problems whether they’re in or out of the spotlight.

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

When Redding learned of 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 that knew her, it was just a state of disbelief as with when anybody passes really suddenly,” said Redding.

More than 12 million people in the U.S. had serious thoughts of suicide in 2020, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health.

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

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

“I think it’s very important for all of us to look at self-care more seriously,” said Metz. “Have that support system. Reach out for help even when it feels like we don’t have time to. That’s when we need it the most. And then, know the resources that are available in your community so that when you do need that, it’s there for you.”

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

If you are in a crisis and need to talk to someone, text HOME to 741741 to reach a volunteer crisis counselor.