Juice WRLD‘s mother has penned a new open letter to mark World Mental Health Day today (October 10).
The Chicago-born rapper died in December 2019 from an accidental overdose at the age of 21.
- Read more: Juice WRLD, 1998-2019 – the NME obituary
“Jarad and I were always close,” Carmela Wallace wrote. “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.”
She added: “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.” Read the letter in full via Billboard.
To mark World Mental Health Day, Wallace has launched a new website for her Live Free 999 Fund, a new charitable fund set up back in April to help young people facing mental health challenges.
Wallace says she has launched the new website “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,” she wrote.