Juice WRLD's Mother Writes Open Letter in Honor of World Mental Health Day

Yesterday was the 28th celebration of World Mental Health Day, an international day focused on mental health education, advocacy and awareness. In honor of the occasion, Juice WRLD‘s mother, Carmella Wallace, penned an open letter detailing her relationship with her late son and his struggles with addiction, anxiety and depression. The emotional message called on readers to normalize the conversation surrounding mental health issues and detailed the creation of the Live Free 999 Fund, her charity aimed to help youth who struggle with various mental illnesses and the stigmas surrounding them. The organization was officially launched back in April following Juice WRLD’s tragic death from an accidental overdose. He was just 21 years old at the time of his passing.

“Jarad and I often had frank discussions about his struggles with addiction, anxiety and depression,” Carmella wrote in her letter. “I think he felt comfortable being honest with me because I never judged him. I recognized that what Jarad was dealing with was a disease and I know he truly wanted to be free from the demons that tormented him. As a parent, I believed early on and supported Jarad having access to counseling. I encouraged him to always share his feelings.”

“My message to the parents and children is simple. You do not have to suffer alone. You do not have to be ashamed of your mental health struggles. There is help. There is a way out,” Carmella said. “If we can help even one Mother and their son or daughter through our work here, Jarad’s death will have meaning and his positive, loving, creative spirit will endure.”

The Live Free 999 Fund has already partnered with Interscope Records invest in the music program of Juice WRLD’s former school and continues to add programs providing preventative measures and different outlets to combat substance dependency and to address mental health issues. Read the full letter below:

Jarad and I were always close. We liked to play pinball together. We had long conversations about his future and about the world in general. But like any mother and son, we had our issues. Jarad came from a family where academics were the highest priority, so I wanted him to focus on school, but he was always more interested in music. His teachers would often tell me that he was extremely gifted, but that he was always focused on his music. I’d often find him in the studio in the afternoon, pursuing his dream. He was laser-focused. In the end, Jarad won the battle and I agreed to let him take a year off after high school to work on his own music and his vision as Juice WRLD. When his career took off, I left my job in quality management to join his team. Jarad recorded music every day, in every city he found himself in. He amassed literally hundreds and hundreds of songs. The lyrics and melodies all made from his beautiful mind.

Jarad and I often had frank discussions about his struggles with addiction, anxiety and depression. I think he felt comfortable being honest with me because I never judged him. I recognized that what Jarad was dealing with was a disease and I know he truly wanted to be free from the demons that tormented him. As a parent, I believed early on and supported Jarad having access to counseling. I encouraged him to always share his feelings.

I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love following the loss of my son. His loving spirit which is communicated through his music has touched so many people. I launched Live Free 999 so that perhaps his death could mean something for other mothers whose sons and daughters are dealing with the same kinds of issues that my son struggled with.

My message to the parents and children is simple. You do not have to suffer alone. You do not have to be ashamed of your mental health struggles. There is help. There is a way out.

On Mental Health Day 2020, I have launched a new website www.livefree999.org in the hopes that it will be a resource to those that are struggling. If we can help even one Mother and their son or daughter through our work here, Jarad’s death will have meaning and his positive, loving, creative spirit will endure.

Sincerely,

Ms. Carmela Wallace

Back in February, Juice WRLD’s estate announced that they were sorting through 2,000 unreleased songs for upcoming posthumous releases. What resulted was his Legends Never Die. The record went platinum only five weeks after its release. An upcoming documentary about his life is also in the works.
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