Juice WRLD’s mother, Carmela Wallace, witnessed her son’s battles with mental illness firsthand, so she is ensuring that she helps other young people address their mental health issues.
On Saturday (Oct. 10) — which was also World Mental Health Day — Wallace wrote an open letter reminiscing on her relationship with her late son.
Wallace, who often played pinball with Juice WRLD, said that she “wanted him to focus on school,” but he was adamant about pursuing a career in music. She eventually allowed him to go after his dream, joined his team and watched him record music every day.
As they were “always close,” she shared that she and the late musician —born Jarad Anthony Higgins — also had frank conversations about his struggles with mental health. “I think he felt comfortable being honest with me because I never judged him,” she said. “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.”
Juice WRLD died of an accidental drug overdose in December, but Wallace is hoping she could turn lemons into lemonade with her Live Free 99 mental health fund.
“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,” Wallace wrote. “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.”
She continued, “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.”