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Naomi Judd Speaks Out on Mental Illness: ‘Don’t Stigmatize People’

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Naomi Judd has released a new video with the Child Mind Institute discussing her struggles with mental illness as part of the organizations #MyYoungerSelf campaign. The singer has been dealing with severe depression since the Judds — her popular duo with daughter Wynonna Judd — stopped touring in the early ’90s; in 2016, she released a memoir, River of Time: My Descent Into Depression and How I Emerged With Hopeabout her journey.

Judd opens the video with a simple but powerful message that she wishes she could share with her younger self: “Don’t stigmatize people.”

“You’re going to lose your ability, your chance to get to know them as a real human being,” she says, adding later in the video that “if each one of us practiced being more kind, we could all literally change the world.”

Judd goes on to say that learning more about depression changed her outlook on an issue that it often discussed as if it is not a real disease.

“I’ve learned through my dark days and my journey that depression is a disease of the brain. Just like heart disease is a disease of the heart, or hepatitis is a disease of the liver,” she says. “With depression, it is partly genetic, partially environment and circumstances, and then choices. I’ve learned I have to take my medication, do my therapies and be constantly vigilant about my moods.”

The Child Mind Institute released videos like Judd’s every day in May as part of Mental Health Awareness Month, each featuring the story of a different celebrity, including Emma Stone, Michael Phelps, Lena Dunham, Henry Winkler and more. All of the videos, with accompanying information on mental illness, can be found at SpeakUpForKids.org.

NEXT: Top 10 Judds Lyrics

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