Naomi Judd Death Ruled a Suicide – What We Can Learn from Her Struggle with Mental Health

Legendary singer Naomi Judd openly discussed her battles with depression and mental health in the years before her death at the age of 76.

Judd, the mother to Ashley and Wynonna Judd, died as a result of “mental illness,” according to an Instagram post on Ashley Judd’s page on April 30, 2022. The post, which said Judds’ daughters are now in “unknown territory,” did not give further details about Judd’s death.

However, People Magazine reported through sources that Judd died by suicide. The medical examiner’s office in Nashville told Heavy, “We are only giving out information to the family at this time.”

Judd seemed to have a lot to look forward to; according to TMZ, she and Wynonna were going to hold an arena tour later this year and, according to TODAY, she was supposed to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on May 1, 2022.

In 2017, she told ABC: “If I live through this, I want someone to be able to see that they can survive.” In that interview, she said her face was swollen and her hands shook because of anti-depression medication. Naomi Judd’s specific cause of death has not been released.

If you are struggling yourself, please be aware that help is available through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Help is available 24 hours a day in multiple languages.

Here’s what you need to know about Judd’s mental health struggles:

The Judds Said They Lost Their Mother ‘to the Disease of Mental Illness’

Naomi’s daughters say she died as a result of “the disease of mental illness.”

“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness,” the statement said. “We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public. We are in unknown territory.”

AP reported that Judd was also survived by “her husband and fellow singer, Larry Strickland, who was a backup singer for Elvis Presley.”

According to Daily Variety, Judd’s publicist released a statement saying that Strickland, her husband of 32 years, “will not be making any further statements. Naomi Judd’s family request privacy during this heartbreaking time. No additional information will be released at this time.”

Judd Wrote a Book About Struggling With ‘Severe Treatment Resistant Depression’

Judd opened up about her mental health in a book about her struggles with depression, which you can find here.

The book description for River of Time reads,

Naomi Judd’s life as a country music superstar has been nonstop success. But offstage, she has battled incredible adversity. Struggling through a childhood of harsh family secrets, the death of a young sibling, and absent emotional support, Naomi found herself reluctantly married and an expectant mother at age seventeen. Four years later, she was a single mom of two, who survived being beaten and raped, and was abandoned without any financial support and nowhere to turn in Hollywood, CA.

Naomi has always been a survivor: She put herself through nursing school to support her young daughters, then took a courageous chance by moving to Nashville to pursue their fantastic dream of careers in country music. Her leap of faith paid off, and Naomi and her daughter Wynonna became The Judds, soon ranking with country music’s biggest stars, selling more than 20 million records and winning six Grammys.

At the height of the singing duo’s popularity, Naomi was given three years to live after being diagnosed with the previously incurable Hepatitis C. Miraculously, she overcame that too and was pronounced completely cured five years later.

But Naomi was still to face her most desperate fight yet. After finishing a tour with Wynonna in 2011, she began a three-year battle with Severe Treatment Resistant Depression and anxiety. She suffered through frustrating and dangerous roller-coaster effects with antidepressants and other drugs, often terrifying therapies and, at her absolute lowest points, thoughts of suicide. But Naomi persevered once again. RIVER OF TIME is her poignant message of hope to anyone whose life has been scarred by trauma.

Judd Revealed She Considered Suicide a Few Years Ago After Struggling With Depression So Severe She ‘Couldn’t Move’

Naomi Judd Opens Up About Long Struggle With Severe DepressionThe country music star spoke about her battle with “life-threatening” depression that led to several stints in psychiatric wards.2016-12-07T08:19:05Z

In 2017, Naomi described her struggles with severe depression candidly on the TODAY show, which reported that she had considered suicide in what she called a “dark hole of depression.

“I didn’t get off my couch for two years,” Naomi said in that interview. “I was so depressed that I couldn’t move… My husband (Larry Strickland) and my girlfriends and Ashley would come over and I would just go upstairs and lock the door to my bedroom… You become immobilized.”

On Instagram, Naomi described herself this way: “Singer, songwriter, and activist. My book RIVER OF TIME about depression and hope is available now.” Her website bio reads, “Today, Naomi is promoting her new memoir ‘River of Time: My Descent Into Depression and How I Emerged With Hope.’”

Childhood Sexual Abuse Contributed to Judd’s Mental Health Struggles

Naomi Judd Reveals Her Struggle With Depression: ‘I Couldn’t Get Out’ | Megyn Kelly TODAYIn her new book, “River of Time,” Grammy-winning country music star Naomi Judd reveals her secret battle with depression. On Megyn Kelly TODAY, she tells Megyn “I went into this deep, dark, terrifying hole, and I couldn’t get out.” She also talks about her daughter Ashley Judd’s claim that she was sexually harassed by Harvey…2017-12-05T15:56:23Z

Judd also spoke about depression and mental health issues to Megyn Kelly.

“After our last tour I knew that all during my life there were periods that I would get so sad and everybody in the family, my neighbors and friends, would say, ‘You’re so empathic, you care so much about other people. You pick up their stuff.’ And I do,” Judd told Kelly, according to One Country. “And my psychologist said that I’m one of the most compassionate and empathic people that he’s ever worked with. So I just attributed to that, but when I came home off the tour I went into this deep dark absolutely terrifying hole and I couldn’t get out. I spent two years on my couch.”

According to Daily Mail, Judd broke down during “The Judds,” a series on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network. She discussed her trauma at finding a childhood photo that showed her standing next to a man she says molested her.

“Our people were farmers, eccentric and odd,” she said on the show, according to Daily Mail. “I grew up in a family of secrets, there was a lot of pathology in the family.”

She added, My first memory was when I was three-and-a-half and a man was trying to sexually abuse me. That was my very first memory and I can remember everything about it.”

According to ABC News, Judd also discussed the childhood sexual abuse and described her depression as “extreme” and “so deep and so completely debilitating and life-threatening.”

Judd told Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America,” that she “had to realize that, in a way, I had to parent myself. We all have this inner child, and I needed, for the first time in my life, to realize that I got a raw deal, OK, now I’m a big girl. Put on your big girl pants and deal with it.”

Her husband said in that interview, of family members of those with depression, “Get ready to walk that path with them, because they’re gonna need, they’re gonna need you every minute.” During that interview, Judd said she had finally reached a place of being “content and at peace.”

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