Pageant winner resignations shed light on mental health, experts are encouraging others to speak up

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Thursday, May 9, 2024
Pageant winner resignations shed light on mental health awareness
In light of Mental Health Awareness Month experts are encouraging people to speak up.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- In light of Mental Health Awareness Month experts are encouraging people to speak up.

Mehul Mankad Adjust Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Duke University said one silver lining of COVID-19 is people have become more comfortable talking about how they are doing.

"Some of us are more comfortable asking loved ones how they are doing. And being able to set that limit, enough is enough. These are things in my wheelhouse and in my lane," he said. "And these things are not and they are having an effect on my mental and physical health."

Experts said they want people to know that depression looks different in everyone.

"With depression, we sometimes think of depression as crying spells or someone who is so sad they can't get out of bed or they can't get to work. And what we have seen that with these previous pageant winners and others that depression can have many faces," he said.

Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava relinquished her title on Wednesday just days after Miss USA Noelia Voigt resigned citing her mental health.

In a post on social media, Srivastava said her "personal values no longer fully align with the direction of the organization."

The pageant responded to Srivastava's post on social media saying that the well-being of titleholders is its "top priority" and that it supports their decisions.

Mankad said mental health and depression can present itself in many ways.

"We can't presume to know how people are doing on the inside unless we ask them. They might not want to talk, and we have to respect their privacy up to a point," he said. "We have to absolutely put our bodies and minds first before trying to satisfy the needs of others."

If you are experiencing suicidal, substance use or other mental health crises please call or text the three-digit code at 988. You will reach a trained crisis counselor for free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also go to