ROANOKE, Va. – The push for suicide prevention is on pageant winners’ minds after the tragic loss of Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst.
Kryst was found dead after jumping from a New York apartment building Sunday morning.
Virginia pageant winners are speaking up about suicide prevention resources in the wake of the devastating news.
Miss Virginia Volunteer Pageant Executive Director Vickie Runk said Kryst’s legacy will never be forgotten.
“Her story she was writing was so exciting and yet we really didn’t get to see the ending we all wanted to,” Runk said.
Although we don’t know what caused Kryst to end her life, Carilion Clinic Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Chair Dr. Robert Trestman, said about 20% of the population will experience some form of major depression.
During the pandemic, he said that number has doubled.
Trestman said we need to create a community that is trauma resilient.
“Many of us have developed an ability to hide our emotions,” he said. “And some hide them better than others.”
But Trestman said that needs to end and we can start by teaching the younger generation.
“We can teach our children how to cope with their emotions, how to talk about them and how to reach out for care,” he said.
Miss Roanoke Valley Isabella Jessee said this is the time for pageant titleholders to lead by example and use their platforms.
“You never know who can hear it,” Jessee said. “It might one person who really needs to hear it.”
Runk said family and friends need to step up and be “rescuers” when a person is in need.
“We have to be approachable and we have to be willing to hear the cries of people who don’t know how to do it,” she said.
If you need help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
A team of local psychiatrists, therapists and behavioral specialists are available at Carilion Clinic. Call 540-981-8025 to contact someone in Roanoke. To reach someone in the New River Valley, dial 540-731-2000.