SAN ANTONIO- Since the tragic death of former Miss U.S.A. 2019, Cheslie Kryst, on Jan. 30, a rising controversy confronts the mental health stigma within the black community of social media users.
On Sunday, Jan. 30, 30-year-old African American female model and former Miss U.S.A. 2019, Cheslie Kryst died by suicide after falling from a building in New York City. After announcing Kryst’s suicide, social media users theorized her death as a murder case, denying her battle with depression.
Cheslie Kryst graduated from Wake Forest University in 2017 and became an advocate for criminal justice reform. Kryst became a former practicing attorney, a correspondent for extra, and won the title of Miss North Carolina in 2019.
Cheslie Kryst kept her depression silent for the majority of her lifetime. Kryst’s mother, April Simpkins, explained that she had found out about her daughter’s depression shortly before her tragic death.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website, a study showed that 63% of African American citizens attempt to disassociate themselves with mental health conditions because it is a sign of personal weakness. Culture, family, and environment also contribute to generations of African American young adults feeling ashamed of battling mental illnesses. NAMI recommends that all victims struggling with mental health be provided by a culturally competent health care professional. Mental health and primary care professionals can both play a significant role in improving a person’s mental health by identifying factors that trigger depression and other mental illnesses.
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