By: Envaalde Matheus
Miss Namibia 2021, Chelsi Shikongo feels there needs to be a lot done to address the issue of mental health in Namibia, which she said is only taken seriously when it’s too late.
While responding to the death of former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, who committed suicide, Chelsi said the country does not have a budget for mental health and there are no government therapists, which makes it a real problem.
“Not just in the pageant world but in society itself as well. In a pageant world, it’s a norm. I’ve only been a holder for nine months, but I know there is so much criticism and cyberbullying.
The whole of Namibia saw when in 2019 the top 30 were cyberbullied so badly, leading to a lot of them quitting. So this is nothing new. It’s a thing we’ve had for so long,” stressed Shikongo
She further said society needs to get to a place of having the right conversations on mental health and not stigmatizing or making assumptions when people say they are depressed without actually knowing why or going through things they are uncomfortable talking about.
Asked whether she feels pageants are often misunderstood, she reacted ‘No’, stating that the pageant world is made up of fans, critics, sponsors, stakeholders and it has its rules and regulations so like any other job there must be pressure too.
Chelsi who recently represented Namibia at Miss Universe in Israel, pointed out how important it is to have a strong support system that understands people have to go through a lot in life.
She further said families and friends should be very supportive and compassionate to have a genuine conversation with their loved ones and take time to listen to people when they want to talk.
She urged people to pay close attention when others cry on social media about things they endure, try to help them and not make it about them, without making it personal.
Former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst died Sunday, 30 January 2022 after jumping from The Orion, a 60-story high-rise apartment building where she resided and was last seen on the 29th floor. She was crowned Miss USA in 2019. Her death was ruled a suicide. Kryst’s mother April Simpkins released a statement, where she stated that Kryst had suffered from high-functioning depression.