Imagine getting this text from your child: “First, I’m sorry, by the time you get this I won’t be alive anymore. And it makes me even more sad to write this because I know it will hurt you the most.“
How would you feel?
Well, that’s exactly the situation April Simpkins found herself in, the morning after her daughter, former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst committed suicide in January 2022.
Now during Mental Health Awareness Month, Simpkins is speaking out about her journey with grief and healing. She recently revealed that her daughter had been struggling with high-functioning depression for years before her untimely passing.
And she’s not alone. According to Dr. Erica Martin Richards of Johns Hopkins University, women are at least twice as likely to experience major depression in their lifetime. Yet, Black women are only half as likely as their white counterparts to seek help.
See, when depression strikes, tell-tale symptoms can look a lot like any other “bad day.” Especially if you are grieving a loved one. You might notice:
- Feelings of guilt, emptiness, hopelessness and sadness
- Loss of interest in once enjoyable activities
- Fatigue or changes in energy
- Changes in focus/ability to concentrate
- Difficulty maintaining healthy sleep habits
- Weight gain or loss of appetite
And thoughts of self-harm or suicide are a common symptom among those facing depressive episodes. In fact, Psychology Today reports that 60% of people who commit suicide also had a treatable mood disorder.
As a parent, it can be heartbreaking to see your child struggle with mental health… or notice these symptoms in your own life during your grief process and beyond. But, depression can be managed with treatment.
As a licensed psychotherapist, I know how intimidating it can be to seek help. But I also know how important therapy is in your healing process. If you’re experiencing feelings of loneliness, guilt or need support working through your grief, you don’t have to do it alone.
While Mother’s Day can be a time of joy and celebration, it can also unearth a world of emotions for those who have lost a child or a loved one. April Simpkins has noted that it is “healing for [her] to talk about Cheslie” with a counselor and her community in her journey forward.
If you need support along your own path to healing, I’m here to help. Book a session with me to receive one-on-one help from a licensed therapist.
Losing a child to their mental health struggle can feel downright defeating. If you are left picking up the pieces after loss, reach out to my office to book a grief counseling session.