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Surrounded by friends. Yet still feeling engulfed by darkness.


That’s always the first question. “Why did she do it?” “Why didn’t she go get help?” “Why didn’t she tell anyone she was hurting?”

That’s often followed by “How:” “How did we not know she was in trouble? “How could nobody have known she was so sad”? “How could someone so young, so beautiful, so accomplished, so special have chosen to end her own life?”

Then of course, “What”, usually comes next. “What did we miss?” “What could we have done?” “What do we do now?”

The answers vary. They can include the stigma of receiving mental health treatment; a lack of accessibility to quality mental health care; cultural bias against seeking mental health support; or just a reluctance to admit to “weakness.”

Of course, when someone like Cheslie Kryst, a person who seems to have it all, takes their own life, it’s even more puzzling. After all, she seemed to have the kind of life we would all love to have.

But what we see from the outside often bears little resemblance to what’s going on inside.

She was a successful young woman. Miss USA, a D-I track and field athlete, an MBA, an attorney, a television personality –  she was clearly talented, intelligent, and driven.

But what was she driven by? The pressure to be perfect? To measure up to an invisible yardstick? To always make sure she represented the African American community well?  We’ll never know.

Pain is a private thing. We don’t want to scare anyone. We don’t want to lose a relationship, a job or respect. We don’t want someone to look at us as damaged goods. We don’t want to disappoint. And sometimes, we don’t even want to admit to ourselves how badly we hurt.

If you’re experiencing any of these feelings, please reach out for help. (We’ve listed two hotlines below.) At the Center for Great Expectations, we welcome and embrace those who find themselves on very difficult journeys. Whether it’s a pregnant and parenting teen or any adult seeking mental health or substance use treatment, we want to help them find their way home.

The pandemic has increased isolation – reach out.  Be present to the people in your life. If they need help, encourage them to get it. Let them know they matter.


The Center for Great Expectations is a safe place, safe presence and a safe path for pregnant and parenting women and their children, and men, seeking treatment for substance use and mental health disorders. (855) HOPELIVES – (855) 467-3548

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
Samaritans Hotline 1-800-273 TALK