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What Can We Learn about Racism and Mental Health from Cheslie Kryst’s Suicide?

Former Miss USA suicide a reminder to seek help and practice self-care
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Holistic well-being advocate Portia A. Jackson Preston, DrPH, MPH, says former Miss USA suicide should remind us all to practice sustainable self-care, and seek help via therapy. 

Preston is an Assistant Professor for the Department of Public Health at Cal State Fullerton and is available to speak to media about topics related to the death of Cheslie Kryst, especially how stressors such as racism contribute to health inequity.

“From the outside, Cheslie Kryst seemingly had it all: beauty, brains, and recognition. In 2019, she was one of five Black women who had swept major beauty pageants in the U.S. As a crowned winner of Miss USA and top finisher in Miss Universe, a lawyer, and correspondent for Extra, Ms. Cryst had achieved what many could only dream of. She was spoken of as a bright light by so many that knew her” Preston says. 

“However, facades can be both crippling and deceiving. Cheslie Kryst spoke openly about the importance of self-care, and shared that she met with a counselor to prioritize her own mental health. However, she also lamented her consciousness of how her own appeal in the eyes of society would fade as she aged. Chelsie used her time and talents to advocate for others, and I believe she used self-care and therapy to advocate for herself in the best way she knew how. Her passing is a reminder that success in the eyes of the world is not enough to heal our deeper wounds. As we seek to understand the fullness of her journey, some of which we may never know, may we slow down and pause for our own healing. It is my hope that the Black wellness movement, and those who hope to support us, will take time to care deeply for ourselves, and to embrace the communal care we hope to provide for others.”

Learn more about Dr. Jackson Preston’s passion for self-care in this video.