Country singer Mindy McCready’s tragic suicide may never be understood, but many speculate that substance abuse may have played a role. Fox News suggests there may have been another factor contributing to her death: brain injury.
McCready had a well known abusive relationship with the man who fathered her first son, Billy McKnight, who was arrested in 2005 for the attempted murder of Mindy. He had beaten and choked her. McCready then began suffering from seizures she said were brought on by brain injury from the abuse.
Many studies have shown the connection between brain injury and domestic abuse. The Jackson Philip study which studied three domestic violence shelters found that 92 percent of the victims had been hit in the head by their partners more than once. A 2003 study of 99 abused women found that 76 percent had sustained brain injuries.
The depression, anxiety, and suicidal tendencies associated with traumatic brain injury are also well documented. The symptoms of brain injury can last for years after it happens, even if the abused person escapes their partner. There is also a culture of shame in the United States which makes many women feel as though speaking against out about their domestic abuse or pressing charges would have negative effects. This causes many injuries to go unreported and untreated, especially “invisible” conditions like traumatic brain injury.
These conditions paint a grim picture for the victims of domestic abuse. Traumatic brain injury is widespread for victims and conditions may possibly never go away for some, especially without treatment. It is highly possible substance abuse played a role in making McCready feel as though she should to take her own life, but depression and anxiety can’t be removed from the conversation, just as you can’t ignore the possibility that brain injury could have contributed to it all.