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Tragic Death Underscores Need for Intervention

The word help written in the sand on a beach.

​The death of 30-year-old Cheslie Kryst on Sunday is a poignant reminder of the fragility of life and the importance of supporting people in need. Kryst, a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) speaker and friend who had majored in management with a concentration in human resources management, was a complex civil litigator, Miss USA 2019 and a correspondent for "Extra."

The New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner confirmed she died by suicide, CNN reported Monday night. 

"The SHRM family will be praying for her mother, April [Simpkins], and all those who loved and cherished Cheslie Kryst," said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, SHRM president and CEO. Simpkins is a SHRM-certified HR professional and an active volunteer in the Carolinas Chapter of SHRM.

"She will be remembered for her unwavering support to elevate HR, advocacy for criminal justice reform, and commitment to Dress for Success and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America," Taylor said in a LinkedIn post. "In her professional life and philanthropy, Cheslie Kryst made a difference and touched the lives and hearts of many across the United States."

He also stressed the need to reach out to people who are struggling.

"We talk a lot about empathy," a visibly shaken Taylor said in a video recalling Kryst, whom he last saw Oct. 4 at a SHRM Foundation event. "We talk a lot about the need to have conversations around mental health and wellness, but it's time for us to get past that, to get past the conversations. We need to do something more than empathize with people. We have to actually tackle this. This is the kind of tragedy we've got to put a stop to." 

SHRM Online has collected the following resources and news stories on mental health.

Risk Factors, Protective Factors and Warning Signs

There's no single cause for suicide. Suicide most often occurs when stressors and health issues converge to create an experience of hopelessness and despair. Depression is the most common condition associated with suicide, and it is often undiagnosed or untreated.

(American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Recognizing and Helping Depressed, Suicidal Employees

Meghan Markle's revelation last year that she had experienced suicidal thoughts shed light on the need for mental health support.

(SHRM Online

Grandfather Mourns Kryst

Kryst's heartbroken grandfather struggled Monday to figure out why the former Miss USA, "a light that shined so brightly," would kill herself. Kryst jumped to her death Sunday morning from the Orion, the West 42nd St. building where she lived, leaving behind a note indicating she wanted to leave her possessions with her mother but providing no reason why she died by suicide, police said.

(New York Daily News)


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  (800) 273-8255
HopeLine  (877) 235-4525
Crisis Text Line  741741  (800) 784-2433  State-by-State Hotlines
Wikipedia  Hotlines by Country 

[SHRM members-only HR Q&A: How should an employer respond when an employee makes suicidal statements?]

7 Strategies to Improve Your Employees' Health and Well-Being

Your company may pride itself on being a good employer. But even with the best of intentions, your company could be hurting employees' health and well-being because of the way the work is organized. Working conditions and the demands of the work environment are a significant source of stress for many Americans, and research has found that the design of work can have substantial effects on employee well-being and health, as well as on health care expenses. 

(Harvard Business Review

Providing Intervention for People in Crisis

Everyone experiences crises. It can be the death of a loved one, a diagnosis of a serious illness, a divorce, psychological distress, a traumatic event or other overwhelming situations. Some crises, however, are more challenging to navigate than others, and can be exacerbated by other factors such as mental illness or family stressors. Crisis intervention is a technique designed to reduce the potential permanent damage to an individual experiencing a crisis.

(SHRM Online

The Cost of Doing Nothing

Improving mental health support in the workplace requires more than simply wanting to make a difference. Too often, HR professionals armed with the best intentions run into roadblocks trying to secure the budget and resources they deserve. In this webcast, Dustin Keller, vice president of Clinical Strategy for the Pathways at Work program, provides you with the tools to build a business case for customized mental health support in your organization.

(SHRM Online)


​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.