Naomi Judd candid about ‘life-threatening’ depression before death

Naomi Judd was open about her mental health issues before she passed away on Saturday at age 76.

In a statement shared on Instagram on Saturday, Ashley, the singer’s daughter, revealed that she and her sister Wynonna have “lost our beautiful mother to mental illness,” although the exact cause of death has not been released.

Judd told the “Today” show in 2017 that after she and her daughter Wynonna stopped touring as The Judds in 2011, she didn’t get off the couch for two years and fell into an “extreme” and “severe” depression.

The singer admitted that at one point she had seriously considered taking her own life at a bridge.

“It can get that bad,” she said. “It’s hard to describe. You go into this deep, dark hole of depression and you don’t think there’s another minute.”

Judd revealed that after she entered therapy, she had severe therapy resistance. She said she even underwent electroconvulsive therapy (ECT or “shock therapy”) to hopefully “start” the chemicals in her brain.

Once stabilized, she described her battle with depression, anxiety, and panic attacks in her book “River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope.”

Judd also became candid about her battle with “completely debilitating and life-threatening” depression that led to several stints in psychiatric wards during an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts in 2016.

She gave Roberts a glimpse of what she was going through, saying, “I would come home and not leave the house for three weeks and not take my pajamas off, not practice normal hygiene. It was really bad.”

The singer said that in her dark moments she thought, “When I go through this, I want someone to see that they can survive.”

Judd shared that part of her depression treatment was coming to terms with her difficult past, which included abuse from a family member when she was 3 years old. She admitted that this was one of the reasons she wrote the book, because before that, “I never acknowledged all the bad things people have done to me.”

During the interview, Naomi also left a message for those struggling with depression by reading a passage from her book.

“I’ve told my story. Now you know and you can tell yours,” she read. ‘You are not alone. I’m still here.’

If you have suicidal thoughts, confidential help is available at no cost from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255. The line is available 24 hours a day.


Wynonna Judd and Naomi Judd

Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images for CMT

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