Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Wellness > Mental Health

Miss West Virginia Madeline Collins on her Think About It campaign

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at WVU chapter.

The stigma around mental illness has long been one of negativity and shame. No one wants to be perceived as crazy or anxious. Because of this, many people refuse to go and get help they so desperately need. One Miss America contestant is hoping to change that.

Madeline Collins, who is currently serving as Miss West Virginia hopes to use her platform to destigmatize and bring awareness to mental illness.

Collins, a Princeton West Virginia native and graduated Mountaineer, finished in May of 2017 summa cum laude with a degree in Child Development and Family Studies and a minor in Public Relations. She is currently pursuing her masters at Columbia University.

“My goals as Miss West Virginia are to bring awareness to my campaign and really destigmatize mental illness,” said Collins. Her other goals include getting rid of misconceptions about mental illness and to bring more awareness to the Miss West Virginia and Miss America scholarship program.

Collins started the “Think About It” campaign, which challenges people to rethink the way they look at mental illness. Collins said that 1 out of every 5 people suffer from mental illness and less than half of those seek help. Those statistics are what motivated her to create her the movement.

Collins noted how college students are more stressed than ever before. According to National Alliance of Mental Illness, 75% of all mental health conditions begin by age 24. Sadly, many of these conditions go undiagnosed. Collins’ Think About It campaign has gained depth by aligning with the National Association for Mental Illness.

Think About It also includes Mental Health First Aid trainings that Collins coordinated with the National Council for Mental Health. It is training that serves to give people the skills to be aware of and help someone who may have a mental health problem or is developing one.

Trainings like the one Collins has created are important because we tend to only take care of the ailments we can see. Sometimes mental health gets ignored because it is not as recognizable as a broken leg. The idea of First Aid for our mental health might be foreign to some, but throughout her time as Miss West Virginia Collins will work to will break through the preconceived notions that stigmatize mental illness while also developing necessary mental health awareness in our culture.


Rachel is a graduate student at WVU majoring in journalism with minors in Appalachian studies, history and political science. In addition to writing for Her Campus, she is also a publicity intern for Arts and Entertainment and a news intern for Univerisity Relations. She is from Princeton, West Virginia and loves her state and its beautiful mountains. She is passionate about many things including dogs, musicals and the Mountaineers.
Maura is a senior at West Virginia University, studying honors journalism and leadership. She was the president of Her Campus at WVU from 2018-2019, interns with ESPN College GameDay and works as a marketing/communication assistant for the Reed College of Media. On campus, she has written opinion for WVU's Daily Athenaeum, served as the PR chair for WVU Society of Professional Journalists and was a reporter for WVUToday. She teaches leadership classes for the Honors College and is an active member of both the Honors Student Association and Helvetia Honorary. Maura is an avid fan of The New Yorker, (most) cities and the first half of late-night talk shows.