TAMPA, Fla. — From the outside, Miss USA Cheslie Kryst looked like she had it all back in 2019. But last year she admitted to being harassed and criticized on social media. Then, she tragically died by suicide in January, jumping to her death.
Recently her mother, April Simpkins, released a statement to the TV show 'Extra,' where her daughter worked saying, "Cheslie led both a public and a private life. In her private life, she was dealing with high-functioning depression which she hid from everyone - including me, her closest confidant - until very shortly before her death."
What is High-Functioning Depression?
"An individual may be suffering mild, moderate, or even severe depression. But while they have it, somehow, someway, they have the wherewithal to kind of hide a lot of the symptoms that other people might not be able to hide," said Psychiatrist Dr. Harold Levine, Baycare's Chief Medical Officer for Behavioral Health.
Levine said oftentimes, those who struggle with this kind of depression are successful and extremely disciplined.
"Maybe more driven than the average person, and were able to put a lot of the distractions of their own health even behind them," Levine added.
Levine also said this condition can affect anyone but often older men who appear strong and don't want to talk about their feelings or burden their family.
"They're quiet about whatever is going on. You may not see a lot of emotion either way, be it sadness, be it anger, be it whatever. But you see strength. And then you just assume that strong person is always strong because that's the role that they play within that family system," he explained.
Levine warned that those who suffer from High-Functioning Depression are very good at hiding their symptoms; so don't be afraid to ask if he or she is "really OK?" because you might be the one person they finally confide in.
If you or anyone else is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-TALK (8255).