Miss America Goes Global

Broadcasting the importance of mental health care

Miss Media: Kristen Haglund
Courtesy of Kirsten Haglund

Former Miss America Kirsten Haglund 13C is taking her message to an international audience.

While wearing the crown in 2008, Haglund advocated for increased awareness of eating disorders as a public health priority, having overcome a battle with anorexia as a young ballet dancer. She has continued to work with the Eating Disorders Coalition for Mental Health Parity and is an ambassador for the National Eating Disorders Association.

Now Haglund is working in global business development for the online mental health organization Eating Disorder Hope in Zürich, Switzerland.

“I am using my connections at broader international organizations, such as the United Nations and the World Economic Forum, to help get mental health into political and economic conversations,” says Haglund.

Haglund decided to expand her scope beyond the US because of inequities in resources available in other countries.

“Most people now have access to the internet, even in the remotest places in the world," she says. "My goal is making information, resources, and education about eating disorders and mental health available to people wherever they may be."

During the past ten years, Haglund has been a political analyst and host on cable news networks including Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, MSNBC, and CNN. She shared her perspective on politics, faith, and culture as a millennial, with opinion pieces on politics, culture, and nonprofit advocacy published in the New York Daily News, on Forbes.com, in the Huffington Post, and in industry journals.

The increasingly contentious political climate of the past few years turned her away from the political arena.

“What precipitated a change from politics was the 2016 election. It just got so vitriolic and so divisive. I have been someone, especially over the past ten years, who has seen more and more the value in bringing people together and being a voice for moderation,” Haglund says. “The most important thing to me is helping people and I didn’t see how being a part of the cable news media industrial complex was furthering that goal.”

Haglund hopes to leverage the work she has done in the US to benefit people struggling with eating disorders around the world.

“I see this problem as bigger and more important than an American context,” she says. “When we all talk to each other and realize we have the same goals, we can be on the same track to solving problems.”

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