Pageant winner to focus on mental-health awareness

The 2020 Miss Virginia for America is Arlingtonian Courtney Phillips.

The 2020 Miss Virginia for America – Arlingtonian Courtney Phillips – has embraced a focus on mental-health awareness. It’s something that the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified.

“My objective this year . . . is to empower people to find ways to thrive during these difficult times,”  Phillips told the Sun Gazette after winning the crown during a competition held earlier in July in South Hill.

Phillips’s focus is Support for Invisible Wounds, which she created as an outreach initiative to empower people to find new ways to thrive during the current difficult times.

“I’m planning to focus on the highestrisk populations most heavily affected, such as our youth, essential workers and minorities,” she said. “I’m also doubling down on my efforts to work with those affected by substance-abuse disorder as a way of coping, as this is very personal for me. I lost my father to alcoholism and PTSD; this not only affected my personal mental health, it’s ultimately what drives me to fight this horrible disease every day.”

Hope for Invisible Wounds currently reaches more than 6,000 people each day, and Phillips has advocated at the United Nations’ General Assembly. (For additional information, see the Website at https://www.courtneykessenich.com/.)

Miss Virginia for America is a part of the Miss for America organization and a division of Mrs. America. Phillips, who represented the Northern Virginia area in the competition, was chosen for the title after a competition that included interview, swimsuit and evening gown segments.

“We are so excited to have Courtney as our new titleholder,” said Darla Cline, director of Miss Virginia for America. “I have no doubt that she is going to make a huge impact on our communities across Virginia.”

Phillips, a strategic consultant, later this year will compete in Las Vegas for the title of Miss for America 2021. The reigning national title-holder, Kassie Perkins, was on hand to crown her during the statewide competition.

For information on the competition, see the Website at https://bit.ly/30opNqZ.

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