What Is High-Functioning Depression? Cheslie Kryst's Mom Reveals Miss USA Hid Condition

The mother of former Miss USA winner and activist Cheslie Kryst has spoken of her daughter's mental health battle after her death on Sunday last week.

Kryst was a former attorney who was crowned Miss USA in 2019 and often spoke about diversity and inclusion. She died by suicide, the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner told multiple news outlets. She was 30 years of age.

In a statement, Kryst's mother April Simpkins said, according to Variety: "I have never known a pain as deep as this. I am forever changed.

"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."

The signs of depression may be known to some, including a lack of enthusiasm for things they used to enjoy and feelings of hopelessness.

But depression does not always present itself in the same way. In some people, depression is harder to detect and may be deemed "high-functioning depression".

People with high-functioning depression may not experience the same kind of "paralysis" that classic depression might cause, according to University Health Partners of Hawaii—yet they may be going through their daily routine without experiencing joy or satisfaction while showing no signs of this.

"A highly functioning person can be suffering invisibly too," Jodi Aman, a psychotherapist, told Healthline.

Eva Stubits, a clinical psychologist, told mental health company Headspace that people may use the term high-functioning depression to describe people who are doing well academically and professionally. "On the outside, they seem to be successful but secretly they feel sadness inside," she said.

Depression can range in both severity and length. Depression may be long-lasting and low-level or short and debilitating. Long, low-level depression is referred to as Persistent Depressive Disorder by the National Institute of Mental Health.

Depression can be serious, but it is also treatable. Counseling or psychotherapy, in which people talk to a health professional, can help people who are struggling with depression and develop skills to cope with it. People may also find that a type of medication called antidepressants are useful.

Depression is common all over the world. It is estimated that nearly seven percent of American adults have depression every year, while around 1 in 6 will experience it within their lifetime, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Various factors can cause it, including brain chemistry, genetics, life events, and medical conditions.

Cheslie Kryst
Cheslie Kryst pictured at an event in New Jersey in August, 2019. Kryst was a winner of Miss USA and a former attorney. Jemal Countess/Getty