Chester Bennington’s Suicide Sparks Mental Health Conversations

By: Elizabeth Valentin

 

On July 20, Chester Bennington of Linkin Park died at the age of 41. Benington was found after his suicide in his home in Palos Verdes, CA and authorities were immediately called to the scene.

As a child, Bennington was sexually abused, setting the scene for a troubled life. Later in his life, he struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. In the time before his death, he was in the process of becoming sober.    

In the last interview before his death, Bennington spoke about his depression in depth on a radio show for Los Angeles radio station 102.7 KIIS-FM. In this interview Bennington is asked about Linkin Park’s newest single, “Heavy,” when he begins to go into detail regarding his depression.

          The interviewer mentions that upon listening to the song, he felt that Bennington may have been overthinking things in his life. To this, Bennington responded by saying “This place right here, this skull between my ears that is a bad neighborhood. I should not be in there alone. It’s crazy in here. It is a bad place for me to be by myself.”

          After comparing his mind to a bad neighborhood, Bennington was called crazy. He elaborated with “When I’m in that, my whole life gets thrown off. There is another Chester in there that, like, wants to take me down.” He mentions that he has attempted to keep himself away from his own mind by being around others and confesses that his substance abuse was a similar tactic that he used to get himself out of his own head.

        Following his death, the music scene has been shaken and several bands and artists have paid tribute to their fellow musician. Tributes were done by musicians including Jared Leto, Imagine Dragons, Machine Gun Kelly, and Jay Z. Along with musicians, fans were also distraught by the news of Bennington’s suicide.

        Bennington’s suicide also sparked an outpour of conversation regarding mental health. Immediately after news of his death broke, fans and celebrities alike shared images of Bennington along with phone numbers, including a suicide hotline, for those struggling with mental health issues.

        Most recently, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters spoke about depression and mental illness on Thursday in an interview with The Rock FM in Australia. Grohl and his bandmate, Taylor Hawkins, are asked about the growing number of deaths in the music community within the past two years.

        Grohl begins his response by mentioning Bennington and Chris Cornell, who also committed suicide this summer. He defines depression as a disease that everyone goes through differently. He goes on to say that losing a friend is always the most difficult part and that he always thinks of a person’s family first when he hears that someone has committed suicide.  He continues with “Going through something like suicide is a long road,” referring to the grieving process for those affected by the death.

        Grohl mentions that mental health and depression have a stigma attached to them and that they should be something to be taken seriously. He says “Just as you’ve got to take care of yourselves in any other way, I think it’s important that people try to take care of themselves in that way too.”

           Hawkins emulates the worldwide conversation of mental illness and suicide when he begins to speak during the interview. He ended their conversation by saying “Look after yourselves, and if it looks like someone is down, way down, check on them.” 

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