Fort Carson’s Miss Colorado targeted on de-stigmatizing psychological well being | Premium

Combating the mental health of military personnel is a top priority for Spc. Maura Spence-Carroll, who won the Miss Fort Carson 2021 crown last month as Miss Fort Carson and will now run for Miss America this December.

As the first active-duty soldier to win the Miss Colorado election, Spence-Carroll now has a very public platform to shed light on destigmatizing mental health care in the military so that staff can get the help they need.

“Proactive, preventive care is now the way we stop service members and veterans from committing suicide tomorrow,” she said.

The 21-year-old intelligence analyst joined the Army in 2018 and was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

Spence-Carroll is in the process of identifying senior army leaders willing to speak up about their own mental or behavioral health problems and the care they have received so that other service members understand that it is okay to speak up and ask for help if necessary.

“I really want to tell the young soldiers that you don’t have to be a first class sergeant or a captain to speak up and make a difference,” she said. “You can do it as you are. Having the strength and courage to stand up for what you believe in when no one is behind you at first can be scary, but it increases the chances for other people. “

Miss Fort Carson focused on destigmatizing mental health

Last fall, when Spence-Carroll felt overwhelmed, she sought professional help at Fort Carson and was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She has also lived much of her life with anxiety and depression.

“Because of the treatment and because I have a great support system; I’m fine, ”she said. “I’m so incredibly grateful to the vendors I have, and especially the guidance I have, because if it weren’t for them I would still have problems.”

She sees room for improvement in the entire army.

“It is important to de-stigmatize mental health care, especially in the military,” said Spence-Carroll. “This is very important because this is the first step in preventing service staff from being taken care of. They feel there is going to be a stigma, either social, through their chain of command, or professional, and that shouldn’t exist. “

One place Spence-Carroll was never judged was in the family. She comes from a loving home and remembers exactly how she saw the Miss America competition when she was 5 years old. In fifth grade, her mother, Cidnie Carroll – a professional singer in a Celtic folk rock band for many years – began teaching Spence-Carroll how to sing classical music.

Spence-Carroll learned “Con te Partirò”, a song recorded by Andrea Bocelli, and fell in love with it.

She has competed for nearly a decade and continues to receive help from her mother through Zoom, where they often discuss musicality, technique, and phrasing while rehearsing in their army barracks.

Carroll described her daughter as highly intelligent, very independent, and able to get along with all kinds of personalities.

“I’m extremely proud of her,” said Carroll. “The most important value in our family is service to others. She will really be able to change people’s lives. “

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