FORT HOOD, Texas – Staff Sergeant Michelle Young, a beloved member of the U.S. Army and popular fitness and fashion influencer on Instagram, tragically ended her own life, according to close friends who shared the news on Saturday.
Young, 34, who had a 16-year-long military career and completed two tours in Afghanistan, was also a dedicated single mother to a 12-year-old daughter named Gracie. The news of her passing has left friends and followers in shock and has sparked conversations about the mental health challenges faced by veterans.
Sarah Maine, a close friend of Young, expressed her sadness and described her as a beautiful soul, an incredible friend, a dedicated soldier, and a loving mother. On a GoFundMe page created to support Young’s daughter, Maine highlighted the hidden struggles that individuals may experience, regardless of their outward appearance. The post spoke of the deep void and unanswered questions following Young’s untimely death.
Despite her own personal battles, Young used her popular Instagram account, which had over 100,000 followers, to advocate for improved mental health services for veterans and to raise awareness about homelessness among former soldiers. She also volunteered at a local shelter, providing support for those in crisis.
In a poignant post during Suicide Prevention Week in September, Young opened up about her own experiences with suicide, revealing that her older brother had taken his own life when she was only 14. She encouraged anyone struggling with mental health issues to seek help, emphasizing the importance of reaching out for support.
The loss of Michelle Young highlights the ongoing mental health challenges faced by veterans and the need for improved support and resources within the military community.