Ashley Judd says she had to re-enroll herself in trauma therapy to cope with the recent media coverage of her mother’s death.
Country musician Naomi Judd, a five-time Grammy winner, died by suicide in April last year after a long battle with anxiety and depression. She was 76.
In an interview with the Guardian newspaper published Monday, Judd said she thought she was done with Eye Movement Desensitizing and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy – a type of psychotherapy used to target underlying trauma – until she was forced to revisit her trauma when media outlets published pictures of the scene of her mother’s death and the contents of a suicide note.
“I re-enrolled myself … just to make sure that my healing was concretized and stout and was going to hold,” the “Double Jeopardy” actress said.
Following Naomi Judd’s death, her family unsuccessfully petitioned to seal reports and recordings made by police during the course of their investigation.
Last August, Judd – who discovered her mother after she suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound – opened up about her family’s experience in an essay for the New York Times, titled “Ashley Judd: The Right to Keep Private Pain Private.”
“The trauma of discovering and then holding her laboring body haunts my nights,” she wrote at the time. “As my family and I continue to mourn our loss, the rampant and cruel misinformation that has spread about her death, and about our relationships with her, stalks my days.”
How to get help
Judd is now lobbying for a change to Tennessee law to limit access to confidential records pertaining to non-criminal deaths, to prevent other families from going through the same trauma.
“The dark past, in God’s hands, becomes our greatest asset,” she said of her advocacy. “With it, we can avert misery and death for others.”
However, Deborah Fisher, executive director of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, told the Times Free Press in December that the bill would further impinge on the public’s right to have critical information related to law enforcement investigations “when police were investigating one of their own.”
Despite this opposition, Judd told the Guardian she is hopeful the bill will pass when it is brought before the legislature for consideration.