"The note that was left came from the complex disease of mental illness and not from her mother's heart."
Ashely Judd and the family members of the late Naomi Judd have released a joint statement condemning what they call the "galling" and "irresponsible" media coverage of Naomi's death by suicide.
The lengthy statement shared to Ashley's Instagram on Thursday calls out media outlets that she says are monetizing on her family's "suffering and despair," and calls for legislation to keep police reports in suicide cases private.
"The consequence of the law as it is presently serves only the craven gossip economy and has no public value or good," reads the statement, signed by "The Judd & Strickland Families." The statement came after a purported suicide note and images of the death scene were published online.
"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," the statement read.
"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."
The message continued, adding that "it is equally a deep violation of our right to a modicum of decency and privacy in death."
The families called for the media to look to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's (AFSP) guidelines on suicide coverage "to avoid re-traumatization of survivors of such a devastating tragedy."
As for the possible impetus for this statement, Ashley's post continued, "The note that was left came from the complex disease of mental illness and not from her mother’s heart."
The slideshow post continued with a message from AFSP's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Christine Yu Moutier, who emphasized, "How we talk about suicide in our society can influence the health outcomes of those who are vulnerable."
It then offered up guidelines and best practices for the media in how to cover these deaths so as to help prevent or mitigate "suicide contagion," as well as "grant any and all families privacy and respect as they grieve," while also urging the sharing of resources to help those in need.
Naomi passed away in April 2022 at age 76. Ashley and Wynonna broke the news via Instagram, sharing, ""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."
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (just dial 988) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress.
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