Chester Bennington’s Death Is A Reminder That Mental Health Is A Lifelong Struggle

By: Thor Benson/Attn:  Chester Bennington, lead singer of the rock band Linkin Park, died by suicide on Thursday, according to TMZ. He was 41 years old. Linkin Park bandmate Mike Shinoda confirmed the suicide in a tweet.

Bennington had substance abuse issues, and beyond writing lyrics that seemed to indicate that he dealt with depression, he openly talked about having considered suicide at certain points in his life. He and his former wife, Samantha Marie Olit, went through a divorce in 2005, and Bennington told Kerrang Magazine in 2009 he was suicidal at that point in his life.

“I felt like my life’s work had been given away. I drank myself to the point where I couldn’t leave the house and I couldn’t function,” he said. “I wanted to kill myself. I could very easily not be the person who’s sitting here right now. I could be dead. It was a horrible, horrible existence.”

Following the news of his suicide, Linkin Park fans took to Twitter to express how he had affected their lives.

One concerning aspect of celebrity suicides is that they can spur others to take their own lives, too. It’s called the “copycat effect,” and many studies have shown that the more publicized a suicide becomes, the more likely it is that people will do it. Research indicates the people who are most likely to commit suicide after a celebrity does so will be people of the same age and gender of that celebrity.

Dr. Jill Harkavy-Friedman, vice president of research at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, told ATTN: that people who are most susceptible to suicide attempts after a celebrity suicide are those who were already at high risk; a celebrity suicide can cause them to think suicide is their only option.

“They’ll say, ‘If he can do it, I can do it,” and then the other way is, ‘If he can’t do it, if he can’t make it, then how am I going to make it?’ And that’s why reaching out is so important,” she said.

If you see someone in your life suffering from substance abuse if they seem deeply depressed or if they’re isolating themselves, it’s important to reach out and tell them to know you’re there for them. “Assume you’re the only one who’s going to reach out to them,” Harkavy-Friedman said. “The worst that can happen is they’ll be fine, and they’ll know you care about them. If you don’t reach out, that increases the feeling of isolation that people in that kind of pain are feeling.”

There are many important suicide prevention organizations, and it’s important that friends and family members of those who may be suicidal intervene before it’s too late. Some of the top suicide prevention organizations include: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline—with counselors available 24/7 at (800) 273-8255—and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

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