Ashley Judd, Aloe Blacc help unveil national suicide prevention strategy

By Darlene Superville, AP

This national strategy for a whole-society approach to suicide prevention launches with help from celebrities with lived experience

NOTE: This story includes discussion of suicide. If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat

Actor Ashley Judd and singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc, who both lost loved ones to suicide, helped Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy launch the Biden administration's National Strategy for Suicide Prevention on Apr. 23. 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 blueprint for reducing suicides in the U.S. 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.”

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 Resource Center.

“She deserved better,” Judd said of her mother. Judd said she also has suffered from depression, but her outcome has been positive 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 leading the audience in singing the chorus from “This Little Light of Mine.”

The National Strategy for Suicide Prevention coordinates a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention at the national, state, tribal, local and territorial levels, relying upon essential partnerships across the public and private sectors. The program seeks to address suicide risk by:

⦿ Identifying those at risk through crisis intervention
⦿ Preventing reattempts
⦿ Promoting long-term recovery
⦿ Supporting survivors of suicide loss. 
2024 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention
2024 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention
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