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Former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst Dies At 30, NYPD Rules Suicide

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Tributes poured in Monday from all over the world remembering the life of 30-year-old Cheslie Kryst. The former Miss USA, who was living in Manhattan, died by suicide on Sunday.

She was a lawyer and TV host who broke so many barriers in her short time. CBS2's Lisa Rozner spoke with mental health experts on how to cope with such a loss and help others who may be struggling.

It was a monumental moment for Kryst, winning the Miss USA Pageant in 2019.

The crowning of the North Carolina native marked the first time three Black women were the reigning Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America.

Kryst was a former NCAA Division I athlete, a former lawyer, and most recently a correspondent at the entertainment show Extra.

She seemed open about her life. She wrote about having to be hospitalized for overworking herself while earning her law degree along with an MBA at the same time. She was a mental health advocate speaking out on World Mental Health Day.

"Hey all, I do a lot to make sure that I maintain my mental health, and the most important thing I did is talk to a counselor," Kryst said in 2019.


• 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or call 1-800-273-TALK
• Text TALK to 741-741 to text with a trained crisis counselor for free
• Emergency Psychiatric Services: (800) 854-7771
• Suicide Prevention Hotline: (877) 727-4747
• Suicide Prevention Live Chat

On CBS Mornings on Monday, host Gayle King revealed she stayed in touch with Kryst since that interview. On Sunday night, she spoke with Kryst's mother, who said her five siblings are reeling.

"Nobody saw this coming and this is what's so upsetting to me. How do you know to offer someone help if you don't know they need the help? That's what I'm struggling with. That's why it's hitting me so hard," King said.

"She lived a life full of passion, determination and strength, so this is a reminder check on your strong friends. Don't assume," CBS Mornings host Nate Burleson said.

There is a 24/7 free hotline that people struggling with mental health can call. It's also there to support loved ones who are concerned. The number is 1-800-273-TALK.

Shye Louis, the director of clinical best practices for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, said one warning sign is seeing a change in a person's behavior.

"Say, 'Hey, I'm seeing that you're, um, this is a change for you, and I'm worried about you, and I want to talk a little bit more about what that means. We also ask that you, um, talk to people directly about suicide. Sometimes when people are struggling with the kinds of things you're struggling with, they might be thinking about suicide,'" Louis said.

And for those struggling with the loss of Kryst, asking why, or finding it triggering, Dr. Christine Yu Moutier, chief medical officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, says, "Genetically, the way we inherit coping with various stressors, they're different for different people. And we don't know that about each other until we have the opportunity to really understand more about mental health and learn how to have open dialogue.

"Now is not the time to make assumptions, and it's certainly not to judge, but to offer up your most compassionate and loving inclusive perspective that we are all in this together," she added.

For more information on mental health resources, please click here.

Editor's note: This story first appeared on Jan. 31

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