Carmela Wallace is turning her son’s memory into a positive example for the world.
Billboard has published an open letter written by late rapper Juice WRLD’s mother to mark World Mental Health Day.
In the letter, Wallace opens up about her son, whose real name was Jarad Higgins, and his struggles with mental health issues and addiction.
The rapper died in 2019 due to an accidental overdose. In April, Wallace launched the Live Free 999 Fund to aid programs addressing depression, anxiety and addiction.
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We strive towards Supporting programs that compassionately and successfully address addiction, anxiety, and depression. Normalizing the conversation around these issues, especially in underserved communities. Supporting programs that help people find positive avenues to process their mental health challenges just like Jarad did with his music.
“Jarad and I were always close,” Wallace writes in her letter. “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.”
She continues, “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.”
Wallace adds, “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.
Talking about her foundation, she concludes, “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.”