Former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst died by suicide, her mother wants you to know about high-functioning depression

Posted at 5:27 PM, May 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-01 17:27:50-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the mother of former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst is drawing attention to the struggle of high-functioning depression and just how lethal it can be. Kryst died by suicide in 2022.

"You can be beautiful and accomplished, and brilliantly, wickedly smart and fine and goofy and entertaining, and you can also be battling depression," Kryst's mother April Simpkins told CBS 6. "You can also be battling a mental illness. Both things can be true."

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports one in five adults struggle with mental health, but no two people with mental illness look or react the same way.

As an ambassador for NAMI, Simpkins hopes everyone will visit, learn about the signs and seek resources that can help before it’s too late.

Kryst wrote a memoir before she died and in her final wishes, asked Simpkins to see it published.

“By The Time You Read This” is an intimate account of her struggles.

Simpkins hopes her daughter's words encourage people to seek support without shame.

"Especially like Cheslie, if on top of high functioning depression, you are high achieving again, there's just a state in your mind that you have grown accustomed to and accepting that that state that you've grown accustomed to could be flawed. That's a tough one, that's a tough one for someone to accept," she said.

The 988 Lifeline provides 24/7, free, and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States.

Depend on CBS 6 News and for in-depth coverage of this important local story. Anyone with more information can email to send a tip.

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