Country Legend Naomi Judd Has Died by Suicide After Longtime Struggle with Mental Health
Naomi’s daughters, actress Ashely Judd and singer Wynonna Judd, announced the tragic news on Instagram on Saturday explaining that their mother died due to “the disease of mental illness.” They added, “We are navigating profound grief.”
View this post on Instagram
Mental illness wasn’t a new battle for Namoi. She had struggled with her mental health since 2012 after The Judd’s Last Encore tour.
In 2016, in Naomi’s memoir, “River of Time,” she talked about her struggle with suicidal mental illness. She wrote, “Think of your very worst day of your whole life – someone passed away, you lost your job, you found out you were being betrayed, that your child had a rare disease – you can take all of those at once and put them together and that’s what depression feels like.”
In the memoir, she explained, “It’s so beyond making sense but I thought, ‘Surely my family will know that I was in so much pain and I thought they would have wanted me to end that pain.” She meant ending the pain through suicide. She added, “Those thoughts of suicide don’t come anymore. But I’m vulnerable. I know I can backslide.”
In 2018, in an article in PEOPLE, Naomi specifically discussed how suicide due to mental illness is preventable. She explained, “For everyone mourning the death of someone who committed suicide, an inevitable question arises: Why did this happen? Unfortunately, we don’t have very good answers. We do know that suicidal behavior accompanies many behavioral brain disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. Suicide is actually one of the leading causes of preventable death among these mental illnesses.”
The article went on to explain why some people with mental illnesses are successful at committing suicide. “The majority of suicides occur as impulsive acts of aggression, with the brain functioning in an altered state. Many suicides happen impulsively and are usually successful if the person has easy access to lethal means such as firearms, poisons, a means of self-hanging, or hazardous heights. When researchers have studied people who died by suicide —interviewing family members and physicians, and studying medical records, in a process called a psychological — they have found those who completed suicide tended to have higher levels of aggression.”
Even though Naomi knew that it wasn’t rational to commit suicide and that it was a preventable mental health issue, it seems that she still backslid and must have had access to a way of ending her life.
Naomi and her daughter Wynonna made up the country music group The Judds. Together they earned 5 grammies, 9 CMA awards, 7 ACM awards and had 14 chart-topping songs.
The Judds were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday. Ashley and Wynonna accepted the award together. Wynonna explained that she hadn’t prepared a speech because she thought her mother would do most of the talking. She added, “I’m gonna make this fast because my heart’s broken — and I feel so blessed.” She continued, “I mean, it’s a very strange dynamic to be this broken and this blessed.”