Thursday afternoon, July 21, phones started to ring and buzz constantly, Facebook became flooded with posts and the world shared in heartbreak as they discovered Chester Bennington had committed suicide at age 41. The Linkin Park lead singer’s death shocked and saddened many fans including me. More importantly, six children lost their father, a wife lost her husband, two parents lost their son and a brother lost his brother.
When I received the text about his death, I didn’t want to believe it. I told myself my friend had simply come across fake news. I took to the internet hoping with everything I had that it wasn’t true. My heart shattered when I saw the many posts on my Facebook timeline, sharing about the loss of the beloved artist.
Ever since I can remember Linkin Park provided me with an escape from anything negative going on in my life. Their music, Bennington’s music, had a huge part in helping me cope with bullying in middle school. Then in high school when I felt too ashamed and embarrassed to reach out to anyone, that music helped me survive and eventually work up the courage and strength to leave an abusive relationship. To this day I still listen to Linkin Park when I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed. For so many people it provides an escape from reality or inspires strength to leave a situation that may be causing harm, to understand that they deserve better and are better.
If you’re reading this, it means you’re still here. Please know you’re not the only one who hurts. You’re not the only one with questions and sadness and pain. Mental illness does not see a face. It does not see status, wealth, race, gender, etc. Depression does not care who you are or what you do. It will grasp you just the same and leave you struggling for breath. Take the time to appreciate all that you have. Unfortunately, Bennington wouldn’t have been the only person to die by suicide in the United States on Thursday. Every day, an estimated 121 people take their own lives with suicide being the 10th leading cause of death, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
At Oaks Integrated Care we can help! Mental health conditions are common, treatable and many individuals go on to recover and lead full and productive lives. Unfortunately many people are reluctant to ask for help or simply don’t know where to find it. You can help ensure no one has to face mental illness alone. If you or someone you know feels overwhelmed or unable to cope, we encourage you to reach out for professional help.
For resources or more information about our services visit www.oaksintcare.org or call our Access Center: 1-800-963-3377. In the end, it really does matter. Rest in peace Chester Bennington. You will be greatly missed.