The world lost a singer, musician and a philanthropist in July when Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington committed suicide. His death at the age of 41 was the result of a prolonged battle with depression. His widow Talinda shared her thoughts with the audience at the Canadian Event Safety Summit about his struggle and how others can seek help.
It doesn’t take a psychologist to recognize that the prodigious drug use, erratic behavioral episodes and melancholic disposition that Bennington displayed were classic symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Whether or not Bennington was officially diagnosed with this mental illness, his extensive public record leaves little room for doubt that he suffered from it in some capacity.
TMZ reports that the Los Angeles County coroner has ruled Bennington’s cause of death as a suicide by hanging. The news outlet reported that the 41-year-old was found dead at his home in Palos Verdes Estates. TMZ reported that there was a half-empty bottle of alcohol in the vicinity of his body when police discovered it. The news of the singer’s death sent shockwaves through music industry and social media circles as his band and his family mourned.
He had a long and storied career as the lead singer of Linkin Park, an alternative rock group that became famous for its hits, including Crawling and In the End. He also fronted the Stone Temple Pilots from 2013 to 2015 after the departure of Scott Weiland. His music and his openness about his own struggles with addiction and depression gave voice to countless people across generations, cultures and classes who could relate to his pain.
As he neared the end of his life, Bennington was deeply affected by the death of Soundgarden/Temple of the Dog/Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell, who took his own life at the age of 53. The two men were close friends and both had spoken about their own struggles with depression and substance abuse. TMZ reported that Bennington had written an open letter to his friend and fellow musician just days before his own death.
Although Bennington had an active lifestyle and a loving family, his past was haunted by the abuse he endured as a child. He used drugs and alcohol to numb himself from the trauma but never fully recovered from that experience. His addictions and depression grew worse over time and he ultimately died from what appeared to be a suicide. Despite the fact that he had a large number of fans and followers, many of whom expressed their love for him, studies have shown that celebrity deaths can have an impact on people who are at risk for suicidal behavior. People in the same age group as the deceased are particularly likely to attempt suicide. That’s why it’s so important to talk about mental health and seek help for those who are struggling. With powerful new therapeutic options on the horizon, it’s possible that more people like Chester Bennington will find the help they need to overcome their inner demons and live a full and happy life.