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NASHVILLE, TN (December 14, 2022) – ACM Lifting Lives®, the philanthropic partner of the Academy of Country Music®, released an all-new episode of celebrated original digital short-form content series, “The Check-In,” featuring Larry Strickland, husband of the late Country Music icon Naomi Judd, as part of an exclusive content partnership with People magazine. In the episode, Strickland talks openly and frankly about his late wife’s mental health struggles leading up to her passing this spring, as well as his own personal experiences with mental health care.

“Knowing what I know now, I wish I would have been more compassionate and more understanding and more kind and loving,”

Larry strickland

Strickland says in “The Check-In” conversation, adding that he knew his wife Naomi Judd battled with mental health, but he wasn’t aware of how bad her psychological state was ahead of her death. “I see moments and times when my wife was normal and happy. It just never entered my mind that she was as sick as she was,” Strickland said, adding, “I wish we could remove the stigma behind mental health. It’s a disease.”

The original short-form digital series ACM Lifting Lives Presents The Check-In launched in May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month, and features deep dive discussions with leading Country Music artists about their own psychological and emotional challenges in recent years and how they’ve learned to overcome them, as well as the vital role music plays in their personal self-care and healing. To date, ten episodes have been released over these seven months, featuring artists including Jimmie Allen, Brett Eldredge, Lindsay Ell, and John Osborne of Brothers Osborne and generating tens of thousands of views from fans all over the world. Strickland closes out the series’ first season with this deeply revealing and emotionally frank discussion.

“When we created this series, our goal was to normalize conversations around mental health, and the number of artists that came to us wanting to share their experiences to help others feel less stigmatized about their own mental health shows how important talking about these challenges can be,”

lyndsay cruz – executive director of acm lifting lives

“Larry’s story is powerful, real, and raw. At a time when many would prefer to remain private, he instead is speaking up loudly to empower others to have the courage to ask for support and aide those around them.” said Lyndsay Cruz, Executive Director of ACM Lifting Lives

The popular digital series, which has already been warmly embraced across the Country Music industry and received widespread praise from major news outlets, including ABC News and Good Morning America, regularly released new episodes throughout the summer and fall to coincide with the opening and application window of the 2022-2023 ACM Lifting Lives grant cycle. The grant cycle moved ACM Lifting Lives’ landmark COVID-19 Response Fund into its next phase, focusing on mental and emotional health support, and funded partners including the Dee Dee Jackson Foundation, Lawrence Hall, and Songs for Sound, Inc. Each episode of “The Check-In” is posted across all Academy-branded social media channels, with full-length interviews living at or on the Academy’s official YouTube channel, including a curated playlist of episodes here.

About ACM Lifting Lives® 

ACM Lifting Lives® is the philanthropic partner of the Academy of Country Music dedicated to improving lives through the power of music. We harness the strength of the Country Music community to provide aid in times of need, with a focus on health-related initiatives. With generous donations and the support of artists and fans, ACM Lifting Lives has funded national music therapy programs serving various mental and physical health organizations. Recipients include patients at children’s hospitals and other healthcare facilities, recovering veterans, people with Williams syndrome, and individuals with mental illness. For more information, please visit  

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