The music world — particularly the country music community — is mourning the recent death of singer/songwriter Naomi Judd. As one-half of the music act The Judds (the other half being her daughter Wynonna), she earned 20 Top Ten hits, five Grammy Awards and nine Country Music Awards. In a sad twist, The Judds were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on May 1, the day after Naomi’s death.
Spanning the years from 1983 to 1991, The Judds released six studio albums. They were one of country music’s most successful acts, and certainly its most famous mother-daughter team. The duo charted 15 songs that went to Number One. Their first full-length release Why Not Me ((1984) became a classic among fans of modern country music, eventually achieving double-platinum status in 1992. The Judds ceased performing as a duo in 1991, after Naomi was diagnosed with Hepatitis C.
In the later years of her life, Judd was candid about her struggles with depression and anxiety, authoring the memoir River of Time: My Descent Into Depression and How I Emerged With Hope. Judd’s condition was so severe that her lack of physical activity caused her muscles to atrophy. In a 2017 essay for NBC News, she wrote, “Depression is a disease of the brain, just like heart disease is a disease of the heart and diabetes is a disease of the pancreas.” Her work with the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and the Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital was aimed at mitigating the stigma of mental illness.
It’s estimated that in the United States almost one in five adults suffer mental illness, and more than 8 percent have depression. I’m not a professional in the field of mental health, but I wouldn’t be surprised if those stats are significantly higher for those working in creative fields, and the pandemic certainly could not have helped the situation.
In addition to those previously mentioned, there are other resources, including the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, Postpartum Support International, and NY Project Hope. If someone you know is dealing with depression or another form of mental illness, encourage them to reach out for help. It might save a life.