[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
Ashley Judd, on behalf of her entire family, is speaking out against the publication of her mother Naomi Judd’s suicide note.
On Tuesday, Radar Online obtained a copy of the country musician’s police report following her death last year from the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee, including a photo of a yellow Post-it note with Naomi’s last request: for her daughter Wynonna Judd to be banned from her funeral.
Truly such a harrowing and heartbreaking message, and it’s not one the Judds think the world should have been privy to — no matter how public their mother’s death was.
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In a lengthy post published to Instagram on Thursday, Ashley clapped back at the coverage surrounding the 76-year-old’s death by suicide, saying:
“Our family is deeply distressed by the galling, irresponsible publication of and ongoing requests for details and images of our beloved mother and wife’s death by suicide because of the trauma and damage it does to those who view such materials and the contagion risk they pose to those who are vulnerable to self-harm. This so-called ‘journalism’ is merely the crudest monetization of a family’s suffering and despair, and a flagrant, cynical disregard for public welfare. It is equally a deep violation of our right to modicum of decency and privacy in death.”
She went on to plead for people to take note of the “American Foundation for Suicide Prevention‘s guidelines on coverage of suicide both for public safety and to avoid re-traumatization of survivors of such a devastating tragedy.” Then, the Double Jeopardy star got candid about Naomi’s last words, explaining:
“The note that was left came from the complex disease of mental illness and not from her mother’s heart.”
Mental health challenges are so complex. We have no doubt Naomi loved both of her daughters deeply and that this note was not a full reflection of her feelings toward Wy. But, gosh, it’s gotta be tough to separate what was real and what was the mental illness taking over while also grieving the shocking loss.
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Ashley concluded her message by pushing for new laws to be put in place to grant families more privacy amid similar losses, saying:
“We hope the public and elected officials now see, with us, the keen importance of strengthening and changing state privacy laws so that police reports in the event of death by suicide are not, in fact, public record. The consequence of the law as it is presently serves only the craven gossip economy and has no public value or good. – The Judd & Strickland Families”
A message from the Chief Medical Officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevent, Christine Yu Moutier, was also attached. She emphasized:
“How we talk about suicide in our society can influence the health outcomes of those who are vulnerable.”
The post then went on to share several best practices for how to discuss death by suicide in the media and online to help prevent or mitigate “suicide contagion,” as well as “grant any and all families privacy and respect as they grieve.” You can read the post in full (below).
Our hearts go out to the Judd and Strickland families. It’s been just months since the performer passed away in April 2022, so all of this is very raw for her children and husband Larry Strickland. We cannot imagine how difficult it must be to be reminded of this very dark day for their family in such a public way.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, help is available. Consider contacting the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988, by calling, texting, or chatting, or go to 988lifeline.org.