September 21, 2018
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Junior Miss Cherokee Kaitlyn Pinkerton recently presented at the 35th annual National Indian Health Board’s Tribal Health Conference, where she shared her platform of mental health awareness.
“It is important to present on mental health because people need to know that they are not alone when they have a mental health disorder,” Pinkerton said. “I want people to know that they have support available to them, and where to find support.”
At 15 years old, Pinkerton has already traveled the country advocating for mental health awareness, and earlier this year she shared her passion on the stage of the Junior Miss Cherokee Leadership Competition.
The NIHB conference marks the fourth speaking engagement for the Claremore High School sophomore.
“Leading by example is one of the many qualities that we look for when crowning our Cherokee ambassadors every year, and Kaitlyn’s advocacy for mental health is a shining example of that,” Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “We were so proud to welcome Kaitlyn as an ambassador, and we certainly commend her for continuing on in her mission to raise awareness for mental health and for giving a voice to Cherokees who may be struggling with mental health.”
For Pinkerton, the message is personal, and as Junior Miss Cherokee, she plans to continue to advocate for others who may need a voice.
“What inspired me to choose mental health for my platform were my feelings when I was dealing with my own mental health disorders. I felt that I was alone and that no one would understand what I was going through,” Pinkerton said. “I hope to continue to raise awareness about mental health through my presentations and by spreading the word about resources available to people with mental health issues.”
The National Tribal Health Conference took place September 17-20 at the Myriad Gardens Hotel in Oklahoma City and included a variety of speakers.
Cherokee Nation offers a variety of mental health services, including mental health first-aid training, therapy for children and families, substance abuse counseling and crisis intervention. For more information about Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health, call 918-207-4977.