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Miss South Dakota to Present Her Story of Mental Health Struggles and Recovery

Kaitlin O Miss South Dakota, Kaitlin O'Neill, will present a program about mental health and recovery on Monday, Sept. 27 in Farber Hall.

VERMILLION, S.D. – Miss South Dakota of 2021, Kaitlin O’Neill, will present a program about mental health and her own struggles and recovery on Monday, Sept. 27 at noon in Farber Hall in Old Main on the University of South Dakota campus in Vermillion.

O’Neill, a Groton, South Dakota native, suffered from mental health issues, including an eating disorder while in high school. Her experiences inspired her to create a useful and practical guide to regaining and maintaining a healthy attitude and lifestyle. Her recovery guide has a dual design and can be applicable to both young children as well as older adolescents and young adults.

A graduate of Minnesota State University, O’Neil currently resides in Sioux Falls and is partnering with the South Dakota Department of Health and the USD School of Health Sciences in order to enrich her presentation and guidance program with the professional expertise of each institution.

O’Neill will compete in the Miss America pageant in December in Connecticut. She has been involved in creative dance since she was young, and she aspires to a career as a professional dancer.

The program is free and open to the public.


USD’s School of Health Sciences is a national leader in interprofessional health sciences education. South Dakota’s comprehensive School of Health Sciences develops scholars, practitioners and leaders in health and human services, including addiction counselors, dental hygienists, health science practitioners, medical laboratory scientists, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, physician assistants, public health practitioners and social workers.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News