Ashley Judd and Aloe Blacc help the White House unveil its national suicide prevention strategy

WASHINGTON — Actor Ashley Judd and singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc, who both lost loved ones to suicide, on Tuesday helped the Biden administration promote its new national strategy to prevent suicide.

Judd’s mother, country star Naomi Judd, died nearly two years ago. Blacc’s frequent collaborator, Tim Bergling, died in 2018.

Both were on hand as Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, helped unveil the Democratic administration’s blueprint for reducing suicides in the United States. Some 132 people a day kill themselves, he said.

“We’re here today because we know that we can and will change this,” Emhoff said. “Suicide is preventable.”


EDITOR’S NOTE — This story includes discussion of suicide. If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.


Judd’s mother had lived most of her 76 years with an untreated sickness and, on the day she died, “the disease of mental illness was lying to her,” Ashley Judd said during a discussion moderated by Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy with Blacc and Shelby Rowe, executive director of the Suicide Prevention Research Center.

“She deserved better,” Judd said about her mother. Judd said she also has suffered from depression and has had a different outcome because of treatment.

“I carry a message of hope,” she said.

Asked what people can do to help someone in crisis, Rowe said people shouldn’t worry about “if you’re saying the right thing. Just say something and show up.”

Blacc suggested that people offer a “moment of joy” when they do reach out, such as a memory that sparks laughter or a song. He also encouraged people to remember that they are “the light.”

“There’s no such thing as too much love. Let’s give as much as we can,” he said, before he led the audience in singing the chorus from “This Little Light of Mine.”

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