INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Fans across the country are grieving the death of music legend Naomi Judd.
Her family says the country singer “lost her battle with mental health” on Saturday, and that comment sparked conversations about the growing mental health crisis in the United States.
Naomi Judd was outspoken about her debilitating struggle with severe depression and anxiety. At one point, she was admitted to a psychiatric ward. In her 2016 memoir, “River of Time,” Judd wrote of paralyzing panic attacks, childhood trauma, and deliberate self-isolation, all factors that contributed to her lifelong battle.
One major obstacle the United States faces is getting people to treat mental illness as a health issue.
“The biggest barrier is that most people are willing to accept treatment for diabetes or high blood pressure, so we have to deal with the stigma and the reluctance to accept treatment,” said Dr. Kurt Kroenke, a research scientist at Regenstrief Institute. “But, we’re getting better at overcoming those barriers, and the good news for patients is we have combinations of treatments that will lead them to feeling better.”
In an Instagram post, Judd’s youngest daughter, actress Ashley Judd, wrote: “Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness. 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.”
Kroenke adds that public awareness and open conversations about mental health are key to overcoming the stigma.