Learning from Linkin Park
For many, the music of Linkin Park has been an important coping mechanism during challenging times in their lives. People are able to connect with the themes in the music that gives a voice to the way they are feeling inside, but may find difficult to communicate.
Lead singer, Chester Bennington, was no stranger to challenging times. He has been open about his personal struggles with mental health and addiction. Bennington also suffered a traumatic childhood involving physical and sexual abuse stating, "My God, no wonder I became a drug addict. No wonder I just went completely insane for a little while." *
Thursday morning, Bennington was found deceased in his LA home by apparent suicide. This is a tragedy for the family, music industry, and fans who loved him.
During this time of investigation and uncertainty, this is also a learning opportunity. In reading news articles that are being published, there are several with a large, bold headlines saying CHESTER BENNINGTON COMMITTED SUICIDE. While it may not seem like a big deal, saying the word "committed" implies that Bennington is a criminal. In talking about this event with family, friends, or in the media, it is important to change the terminology to Chester Bennington Died by Suicide. This small change in wording has a huge impact on lessening the stigma on mental health. Instead of making mental health criminal, it can be a looked at more as the result of an illness, which is incredibly helpful in reducing the shame for others contemplating suicide or for someone who lost a loved one to suicide. In order to have mental health treated as any other physical ailment, saying someone died by suicide gets us one step closer.
Bennington's challenging childhood and traumatic experiences also shed light on how things from our past have no time limit on when we 'get over them'. For individuals who have experienced trauma, the typical response from others is "I'm sorry that happened to you, but you will get over it soon." While comments like this come from a caring place most of the time, it also tells that individual that if they don't 'get over it' there is something wrong with them. When faced with difficult times or trauma, being there for the person and being non-judgmental and supportive are key in learning how to live and cope with the past. Instead of saying 'you'll get over it', try saying something like 'I'm so sorry that happened to you, tell me how you are feeling about it today'.
HopeLine is deeply saddened to hear about Bennington's death and our thoughts and condolences go out to the family and loved ones of Chester Bennington. If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please do not hesitate to reach out to someone. You are not alone, you are loved, you are important.
HopeLine can be reached by calling or texting: 919-231-4525 or 877-235-4525
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: