On February 17th, 2013, we got the sad news that country star Mindy McCready had taken her own life. What made it even sadder was the realization--for me, anyway--that it ultimately wasn't a very big surprise.

MINDY MCCREADY -- THE BEGINNING OF HER CAREER

Back in 1996, Chuck Urban, a former program director at WBKR, was in Nashville for the Country Radio Seminar and met Mindy not too long after the release of her debut single, "Ten Thousand Angels."  When he was telling me about her, he expressed concerns about her behavior that evening on the General Jackson riverboat; her record label--the RCA Label Group at that time--showcased new talent on the boat every year at the seminar. I don't remember exactly what he said because it didn't really register with me until much later.

THE BEGINNING OF THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL

And by much later, I mean when the hits had stopped coming and the headlines about her drug use and other incidents became more frequent.

Soon after her death, Taste of Country chronicled the singer's life from the release of that debut single (which hit the top ten) and album which generated three other hits, including her only number one song, "Guys Do It All the Time." Great success seemed like it was right there in the palm of her hand.

Except that the opposite happened.

Mindy's life continued to spiral downward. There was an abusive boyfriend, multiple arrests, and three suicide attempts between 2005 and 2008.

MINDY MCCREADY -- A GLIMMER OF HOPE IN 2010

In 2010, there did seem to be SOME glimmer of hope when she appeared on the third season of VH1's Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. Yes, it sounds like and PLAYED like just another reality show. Regardless, it was a sign that fans and the public hadn't seen from Mindy--an effort to really get her life straightened out, once and for all. It seemed that way to me, anyway.

But after that season ended, it actually got worse than it had ever been, hard as that was to believe.

NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE AND OTHER SERVICES

The anniversary of Mindy's death is a good opportunity to remember to be vigilant when you see something in a loved one that just doesn't feel right. Have the tough conversations. And if you're on the other side of it, do NOT think no one will listen. Reach out; don't go through it alone.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline number is 800-273-8255. Locally, the Owensboro Regional Suicide Prevention Coalition is a wonderful resource for those who have lost loved ones to suicide. But it does state, right up front, that you should call the above number if you are in crisis. Seek out the coalition for information about free QPR training and the Survivors of Suicide Loss Support Group.

There are so many avenues to take to get help. While it IS a sad anniversary, don't let one day be the ONLY day you recognize that something is wrong and you need help.

Here are some tips for self-care during the pandemic:

 

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