In honor of National Suicide Prevention Week, I am collaborating with Anne Ransom, Miss Rhode Island United States 2015, to raise awareness for suicide. Suicide is often related to serious depression, substance use disorders, and other mental health conditions. Recognizing psychological distress and ensuring access to the care and services needed to diagnose and treat depression, eating disorders, and mental illness are crucial to efforts in preventing suicide.
Anne was a victim of bullying and it led her into depression, an eating disorder, and eventually attempted suicide. Today, Anne is a full-time model, fitness competitor, and your Miss Rhode Island United States 2015. She is incredibly beautiful and so kind that if you met Anne today, you would never assume that she faced such challenges. Anne is now using her platform to raise awareness for eating disorders in the community and fundraise for eating disorder research and treatments.
Book: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Beauty product: Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara
Movie: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Food: Wink Frozen Desserts Ice Cream
Hobbies: Fitness, Cooking, Reading, Watching films, Volunteering, Singing, Traveling, Spending time with friends and family
Congratulations on being Miss Rhode Island United States 2015! Can you tell us how you got involved with pageantry?
Thank you so much! It’s truly an honor to be Miss RI United States! It’s been an amazing year so far! I got involved in pageants through my volunteering work, ironically. When I was volunteering with a local horseback riding therapeutic riding center at age 18, someone who I volunteered with suggested I try out for my local Miss USA state pageant, since I was very community-oriented and interested in beauty, fashion, and modeling. So, I inquired about the Miss Massachusetts USA pageant, and the rest was history! I fell madly in love with pageantry, and the self-confidence it gave me.
Tell us about your platform:
My platform is Project HEAL RI, which is a non-profit organization that raises funding for young men and women who wish to receive hospital treatment for their eating disorder to be able to do so. We also raise awareness for eating disorders in the community and fundraise for eating disorder research.
Are you working on any exciting projects right now?
I am! I currently am preparing for my second bodybuilding show, which is coming up this November! I am competing in the Bikini Division, and have been training for it the past 6 months.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
Five years from now, I see myself traveling the world, actively working with non-profit organizations that raise and spread awareness for eating disorders, bullying, and suicide prevention in youth, and body-building professionally.
What to you enjoy doing in your free time?
In my free time, I truly enjoy traveling around America, seeing new places and people, volunteering, reading books, watching films, bodybuilding, modeling, competing in pageants, cooking and baking, and spending time with friends and family!
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
My father always told me that life is a gift that should never be wasted- and I reflect on that everyday and challenge myself to make the most of each day with a positive attitude.
Since it’s suicide prevention week, what can our readers do within their communities to raise awareness?
Raising awareness for suicide prevention starts with raising awareness for mental health in general. Look within your community to see if there are any organizations that raise awareness for causes such as suicide prevention, anti-bullying, addiction prevention, and/or depression awareness, and join them! If no such organizations exist in your area, consider starting one. Educating yourself on the warning signs of depression and suicide are incredibly important too; if you see someone who seems like they may want to hurt themselves or others, I urge you to say something to someone of authority who could possibly help them. I also ask you to be kind to everyone you meet. It sounds corny, but you never know what someone is struggling with underneath the surface, and befriending someone may possibly save a life.
As a former victim of bullying, can you tell us a little about what you experienced?
I experienced bullying all throughout my elementary, middle and high school years, which prompted me to eventually try homeschooling my senior year of high school. I was always a quiet, artistic girl in school, and struggled with making friends and meeting new people, so naturally, people teased me. It started off with innocent name calling in my elementary and middle school years, to hate-filled facebook messages and eventually social abandonment in high school. I started getting panic attacks at school, and ate lunch either alone in the cafeteria or skipped it all-together and sat in the bathroom to avoid teasing.
How did you first react to bullying?
At first, I’d cry. I’d start to cry in school, or would hold in the tears until I came home, then would cry alone in my room, wondering why people disliked me, or what was wrong with me to make people want to tease me. The crying soon turned into full-blown depression, an anxiety disorder, and an eating disorder.
How did you overcome bullying, and how has it made a difference in who you are today?
I eventually overcame bullying when I left high school and started homeschooling, and emmersed myself in singing, volunteering, traveling, and pageantry. Talking with a therapist also helped me move on and cope quite a bit. Bullying taught me quite a lot; it showed me how I should always treat others with kindness, both online and offline, gave me motivation to learn how to speak up for myself and inspired me to help out those who suffered from bullying as well. Raising awareness for bullying in youth is something I’m very passionate about.
Do you have any advice you can offer for our readers who may be bullied?
Yes, I do! Speak up. Say something. If you, or someone you know is being bullied, please tell someone- whether it be a teacher, parent, fellow friend, counselor, law official, or anyone of higher authority. I regret not saying something sooner, and wish I had done so. Also, there are several organizations ( Stomp Out Bullying, Pacer Kids Against Bullying) that offer online support and connect you with counselors who can help you with your bullying problems. If you see someone being bullied, I think it’s always a great idea to defend them-befriend them, be a positive voice for them.
Keep up with Anne!