Scientology kept woman from mental health care before her death, lawsuit says

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Editor’s note: This story includes discussion of suicide. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, resources are available to help. Please see the information below.

The mother of a Clearwater woman who died by suicide in 2022 has sued the Church of Scientology, alleging high-ranking church members kept her daughter from seeking mental health treatment while under their supervision and failed to prevent her death.

In early 2022 Whitney Mills, a 40-year-old real estate agent and high-level Scientologist, was experiencing a mental health crisis that had landed her in the emergency room twice with insomnia, anxiety and an increased heart rate, the suit asserts.

The suit alleges that members of Scientology’s Sea Org workforce assigned handlers to stay with Mills at her downtown apartment around the clock beginning in February 2022. They coordinated her medical care with a Scientologist physician who misdiagnosed Mills with Lyme Disease and cancer “while largely ignoring her very real psychosis and mental health crisis,” according to the lawsuit.

Scientology has strict beliefs against traditional mental health and psychiatry, “thus foreclosing her from obtaining the exact treatment she needed,” the lawsuit says. Because Scientology and its workers assumed responsibility for Mills during this period and oversaw “highly questionable” alternative medical treatments, the family alleges the church is liable for her death.

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