T. Graham Brown Opens Up About His Own Mental Health Battles Following Naomi Judd’s Death
Speaking to CNN's Brianna Keilar, Brown first asked those watching from home to keep the Judd family in their prayers.
"I know these guys, and they're just wonderful people. I know you always say nice things about somebody that's passed away, but Naomi deserves every compliment you can give her," he reflects
Graham describes his old friend as a sweet, positive and beloved presence in the country music world, who also struggled with a constant battle against severe depression. That's a battle that Graham knows well, he says, because he grapples with similar mental health challenges.
"I can tell you exactly what she's facing, because I have the same problem," the singer states, going on to say that he suffers from bipolar disorder and has experienced severe mood swings, manic faces and bouts of depression where, "I've sat there and looked at a pistol. I've had those suicidal thoughts, too."
Brown says he hopes that stories like his and Judd's can be a catalyst for people who are suffering to seek help.
"I would urge anybody going through this to go and get a great doctor, because most people can be treated for it, and you don't have to live that way," the singer says, also pointing out that he takes medication for his bipolar disorder.
Over the years, Judd had been open about her mental health struggles, and Brown says that openness is something that he admires about the singer and her fellow country star daughter, Wynonna Judd (together, the two make up legendary duo the Judds.) Still, no one knew the depths of her struggles in recent months, he continues.
"We all thought she was handling it okay," he relates. "But you don't know how people think. You can't get inside their head."
Amid all the conversation about Judd's death, Brown also wanted to make sure her fans didn't lose sight of how she lived, and the positive, happier times he and his friend had shared together. "She was nice, and she was always very, very sweet and kind to me. And to everybody. We're gonna miss her, man. She was one of a kind. Very driven. She made the Judds happen ... we were proud of Naomi," he concludes.
Judd died on Saturday, April 30, 2022, just one day before the Judds were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Her daughters, Wynonna and actor Ashley Judd, announced the news in a statement.
“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness," they said. "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 thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741 to reach a trained counselor at the Crisis Text Line. Even if it feels like it, you are not alone.