Cheslie Kryst's mother urges people to 'take care of your mental health' at daughter's public memorial

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·2 min read
Cheslie Kryst died Jan. 30. (Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
Cheslie Kryst died Jan. 30. (Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Cheslie Kryst was incredibly loved.

The former Miss USA 2019, lawyer, advocate and Extra correspondent, who died Jan. 30, was remembered Friday evening at a public memorial at Elevation Blakeney church in Charlotte, N.C.

The livestreamed event, which lasted just more than an hour, included several musical performances playing over photo montages of the 30-year-old, as well as speeches from those who knew her well. The most moving of those, of course, came from her mother, April Simpkins.

She recounted that Kryst had been "the family cheerleader" for her large brood. Simpkins explained that, not long after Kryst had been named Miss USA, she rearranged her schedule to make sure she could attend her brother's fifth grade graduation.

Simpkins said that, while she knows it's surprising, her daughter was an introvert. She was also someone who was "humble" and "selflessly gave of herself." When Kryst was younger, she even "acted as a spokesperson for her siblings" when they got into trouble.

Simpkins called on her audience to "take care of your mental health," including seeking counseling, and to add the Suicide Prevention Hotline to their phone contacts.

After Kryst's death, it was Simpkins who revealed that Kryst had been "dealing with high-functioning depression." The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner ruled earlier this month that she had died by suicide.

At the memorial service, Simpkins also urged others to honor her daughter by becoming an ally for a community that needs their support, not because they're a member of it, but because it's needed. Kryst sat on the boards of several charity organizations. She was an ardent supporter of the nonprofit Dress for Success, so much so that the family had requested people donate to it in lieu of flowers.

"Be selfless, like Cheslie," Simpkins said.

The service was also filled with announcements of scholarships and a fund named after Kryst.

Billy Bush narrated a video of some of Kryst's appearances on Extra, including her interactions with Denzel Washington, Taylor Swift, Oprah Winfrey, Mariah Carey and others. He called Kryst "our dear friend" and said she "will remain forever in our hearts."

If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.