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Dr. Drew on Mindy McCready: ‘It Didn’t Have to Go Down Like This’

Dr. Drew Pinsky Mindy McCready
Frederick M. Brown/Brad Barket, Getty Images

Since country singer Mindy McCready took her own life on Sunday, February 17, 2013, there’s been quite a bit of speculation about the so-called ‘Celebity Rehab’ curse. Now, Dr. Drew Pinsky (who headed up the reality television show for its three-season run) has spoken out about her suicide, saying he wished she had completed a longer stay in treatment just prior to her death.

McCready died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Sunday after a short, turbulent life filled with more drama and pain than any country song. Considered one of Nashville’s fastest-rising stars after her 1996 debut album ‘Ten Thousand Angels’ went double-Platinum, the singer subsequently spiraled out of control as her recording career and personal life both took a serious downward turn.

By 2010, the singer’s numerous personal woes had long since overshadowed her once-promising career, and she appeared on the third season of ‘Celebrity Rehab’ in an attempt to regain control of her life. Her death on Feb. 17 marked the fourth cast member from the reality show to die after treatment; ‘Grease’ and ‘Taxi’ star Jeff Conaway, Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr and former ‘Real World’ star Joey Kovar have also died since participating in the show.

Dr. Drew released a formal statement on McCready’s death. It reads:

I am deeply saddened by this awful news. My heart goes out to Mindy’s family and children. She is a lovely woman who will be missed by many. Although I have not treated her for few years, I had reached out to her recently upon hearing about the apparent suicide of her boyfriend and father of her younger children. She was devastated. Although she was fearful of stigma and ridicule she agreed with me that she needed to make her health and safety a priority. Unfortunately it seems that Mindy did not sustain her treatment.

 

Mental health issues can be life threatening and need to be treated with the same intensity and resources as any other dangerous potentially life threatening medical condition. Treatment is effective. If someone you know is suffering please be sure he or she gets help and maintains treatment.

In an appearance on CNN on Sunday night, Pinsky also defended himself against charges that his show is exploitative and does not help the patients he treats. “One of my hopes was, in bringing ‘Celebrity Rehab’ out, was to teach people how dangerous addiction was,” he told Don Lemon. “If I was doing a show on cancer, there would not be much surprise when my cancer patient died. In fact, we’d celebrate a few years of good quality life. People don’t understand that addiction has virtually the same prognosis.”

The addiction recovery specialist added that the enormous media coverage of McCready’s problems may have ultimately contributed to her demise. “There’s a cautionary tale here about the stigma of mental illness and the way in which the public attack celebrities who take care of themselves,” Pinsky said. He added that McCready “became so fearful of the stigma and the way people were responding to her being hospitalized that she actually checked herself out prematurely. She is a lovely woman, we have lost her, and it didn’t have to go down like this.”

Next: See More Country Artists Who Died Too Young

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