Naomi Judd's death puts spotlight on mental health awareness

Country Music Hall of Fame Medallion Ceremony
Posted at 2:10 PM, May 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-03 08:00:37-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Broken hearts gathered on Sunday night at the Country Music Hall of Fame as The Judds were inducted just one day after Naomi Judd's unexpected death.

Naomi's daughter and singing partner Wynonna attended with sister Ashley. In a statement, Naomi's daughters said they lost their mother "to the disease of mental illness." Their mother's longtime battle with mental illness is now front and center again.

Judd was candid about her struggle with severe depression before she took her own life one day before the start of Mental Health Month. She was a known advocate of mental health awareness and talked about it when she volunteered with Mental Health America of the MidSouth.

"Anytime we needed a voice, anytime we needed a letter, anytime we needed someone to reach out to a legislator, she was so helpful," said Tom Starling of Mental Health America of the MidSouth. "She'd meet us down at Green Hills Grille to talk about advocacy and what she can do, and she even came to judge our chili contest in October a couple of years ago."

Although mental health is becoming as discussed as physical health, Starling hopes everyone checks in on themselves and their loved ones during the month of May.

"One in five people have a diagnosable mental illness each year, and that's not schizophrenia or bipolar — that's workplace wellness, divorce, career transition, family problems. You're not alone," Starling said.

He really hopes fans of The Judds take this important step.

"I think as a tribute to her people should do a screening or choose to get the right help at the right time," he said.

Mental Health America has an online tool to check your mental health, as well as resources to help understand and improve your mental health. For more information, visit the organization's website.