Miss South Carolina USA remembers former Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst

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Published: Jan. 31, 2022 at 11:44 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 31, 2022 at 11:52 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Cheslie Kryst, the pageant star and former University of South Carolina athlete, was what many viewed as the picture of strength and success, but on Sunday morning she was found dead outside of a Manhattan building, shocking the nation.

Police believe Kryst jumped from the terrace on the 29th floor of her apartment building in Manhattan. Her cause of death is believed to be suicide.

Kryst’s death has brought a focus on mental health to the community for women competing in pageants, and the country as a whole.

Mental health experts say what you see on the surface is not always an accurate reflection of what someone is going through on the inside.

“When you have a loved one who is canceling appointments, calling and saying, ‘you know, thank you so much for what you did the other day,’ maybe saying something that sounds like a farewell, those are things you have to pay attention to,” Executive Director of The National Alliance on Mental Health Mid-Carolina, Zenethia Brown said.

Brown says a sign to look for is a change in behavior. She encourages people to ask if they think something is going on.

“Talking about it is the best way to prevent it, to prevent suicide, " Brown said.

Miss South Carolina USA, Marley Stokes is one who is struggling to understand the loss of Kryst.

“Knowing her and seeing all the success she has had -- you never think these people that you think have everything in the world, and this great life, would ever do something like this,” Stokes said.

Kryst wrote in her final Instagram post, “May this day bring you rest and peace,” which now serves as a powerful reminder to always check on your friends no matter how strong they may seem.

Stokes says she sent messages to everyone she could think of after receiving the news to let them know she loves them.

“I say I love you more, I say you matter,” Stokes said.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a hotline for individuals in crisis or for those looking to help someone else. To speak with a certified listener, call 1-800-273-8255. Crisis Text Line is a texting service for emotional crisis support. To speak with a trained listener, text HELLO to 741741. It is free, available 24/7, and confidential.

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