The deaths of country singer Naomi Judd and Kailia Posey, who appeared in the TLC show “Toddlers & Tiaras,” expose the greater need to treat mental health more seriously and quickly.
Judd died by suicide on April 30. She was 76. Posey also died by suicide on May 2. She was 16.
Mental health and the risk of suicide affects everyone, no matter the age, no matter the lifestyle.
Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States, with 45,979 deaths in 2020 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is estimated that 12.2 million adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.2 million planned a suicide and 1.2 million attempted suicide in 2020.
Suicide was also among the top nine leading causes of death of people between the ages of 10 and 64, and the second leading cause of death for people ages 10 and 14 and 25 to 34.
Judd was open about her battle with depression, especially in her memoir “River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope.” In her memoir, she talked about the weight of depression and her struggle with panic attacks. Most importantly, she wrote about the struggle to receive a proper diagnosis for her mental health struggles.
Finding a proper diagnosis is difficult because mental health disorders are often complex, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health. Researchers found four reasons why it is so hard: the many factors that cause the disorders, how to diagnose it, the threshold for diagnosis, and co-morbidity.
With how difficult it so get a diagnosis for a mental health disorder, it is important to realize the signs for people who may be struggling, especially in people considering suicide.
The CDC has recommendations for some strategies to prevent suicide: strengthen economic support, strengthen access to and delivery of care, create protective environments, promote connectedness, teach coping skills and problem-solving skills, and support people at risk.
Though these strategies are not exhaustive, they are an important start. They emphasize the importance of interpersonal connection and for being gentle and caring with everyone around us. It is important to do everything possible to prevent future deaths by suicide and to get people the care they deserve and are entitled to.
The University of La Verne offers counseling to students via the Counseling and Psychological Services. To schedule an appointment, call 909-448-4105 or email CAPS@laverne.edu. If you are in a crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, available 24/7, at 800-273-8255 or text “TALK” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.