COLORADO SPRINGS — A Fort Carson soldier is trading in her army boots for heels to take the stage in a couple weeks to compete for Miss Colorado. And she's using her platform to spread an important message to the community.
Maura Spence-Carroll will be competing in the competition which is taking place on June 7-8 in Parker, CO. If she wins, she'll be one of the first active duty military to win that competition, and compete at Miss America.
When News5 asked if it was a lot of weight placed on her shoulders she said, "it is and isn't at the same time because I know that I will have a huge platform to be able to talk about this."
She wants to talk about spreading awareness and bringing attention to mental health among soldiers and veterans.
"By ending the stigma, more people get healthcare, and when we get more healthcare, we can reduce the rates of suicide rates later on between both military members and veterans," said Spence-Carroll.
Her own mental health is something she's learned more about in recent months, after she was diagnosed with ADHD last October.
"It was like a light bulb moment, everything made sense, and I could stop living in shame," said Spence-Carroll. "I think that by being open, honest and allowing people to see the hardships as well as the struggles, it will hopefully open up that avenue for other people to receive care as well."
With her story, she's hoping to help end the stigma, because mind matters.
"If anyone else out there is brave enough to speak up, I fully encourage you to, and I'll be standing there right next to you," said Spence-Carroll.
Spence-Carroll said outside of being soldier, she practices her singing daily, which is her talent during the competition. She also does a lot of volunteer work like speaking at schools and practicing her interview questions for the competition.