Cheslie Kryst

Cheslie Kryst Death Draws Attention to Suicide Prevention

Mental health experts remind people of signs to watch for and resources available.

Cheslie Kryst
Dia Dipasupil/WireImage

Former Miss USA, Cheslie Kryst, died Sunday, according to New York City Police. The 30-year old’s body was found in midtown Manhattan after she apparently jumped from her apartment above.

Kryst was a beauty icon; admired by millions. Her death by suicide is being mourned and has left the pageant community shocked.

“I think it’s going to take some time for all of us to really comprehend and accept the fact that she is no longer with us,” said Miss Connecticut USA Amanda Torchia.

Torchia said Kryst was a person she admired.

“She was a leader and an advocate and somebody who really inspired so many people,” Torchia added.

After being crowned in 2019, Kryst became a television personality, as a correspondent on the national celebrity entertainment show, "Extra." She was also an attorney and widely viewed as a success. External appearance, though, can be deceiving, according to some mental health experts.

“Someone can appear very successful, but we never know what’s going on internally unless we are talking to them or they tell us,” said Dr. Linda Drozdowicz, Yale University assistant clinical professor of child psychiatry.

Drozdowicz said common suicide risk factors are a history of mental illness, depression and anxiety, but there can also be triggers including experiencing a major loss like a death in the family, loss of job or financial stress.

There are also indicators including appearing depressed, withdrawn or disinterested; being more anxious or agitated; using more alcohol or drugs, and a change in eating and sleeping patterns. There were also other signs.

“If they are making suicidal statements or even doing what we call preparatory acts, like writing a note or giving away their possessions. Those are red flag, emergency warnings signs,” Drozdowicz said.

If these indicators become apparent, health experts say they should not be ignored.

“It’s important for yourself and for others that you’re concerned about, that you reach out as early and as often as possible,” said Amanda Duarte, the suicide prevention project manager with Connecticut’s Department of Mental Health.

The state has many resources available to people in crisis, which can be found on the state’s suicide prevention website. Other resources include the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 800-273-8255. In Connecticut, people can also call 911 or 211.

Just hours before her death, Kryst posted on Instagram a picture of herself with the caption, “May this day bring you rest and peace.” Today, her peers are encouraging others to provide support if they see a person in need.

“Send that text message or that phone call because you never know what ability that’s going to have to impact them,” added Torchia.

Kryst had been an advocate for those seeking mental health support. In 2019, she posted a Facebook video discussing how mental health was a priority for her and that she spoke with a counselor on a regular basis.

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