Juice WRLD's Mother Shares Open Letter About Her Late Son in Honor of World Mental Health Day
"You do not have to be ashamed of your mental health struggles," Carmela Wallace wrote
The "Righteous" rapper died in December 2019 at the age of 21 due to an accidental drug overdose. To honor the artist, who was born Jarad Higgins, Wallace established the Live Free 999 Fund in April and launched its website alongside the letter on Saturday.
The foundation’s goal is to “support programs that provide preventative measures and positive avenues to address mental health challenges and substance dependency,” according to the website.
In the letter, which was obtained by Billboard, Wallace wrote that she and her son “were always close” and “had long conversations about his future and about the world in general.” She shared that they initially disagreed about his focus on music over academics, but “in the end, Jarad won the battle.”
“When his career took off, I left my job in quality management to join his team,” she wrote. “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.”
Wallace then opened up about her son’s battle with addiction and mental health issues, writing: “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.”
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She went on to say that she 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,” Wallace said. “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.”
“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,” she concluded.
If you or someone you know need mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.