On July 20, 2017, the music world was rocked when the news broke out that Chester Bennington had allegedly committed suicide in his Los Angeles home. Less than two months before, one of his good friends, Chris Cornell, the frontman for Soundgarden had also committed suicide. Fans from around the world were shocked that these musicians from 2 successful bands had chosen to take their own lives.
We’ve all heard the tragic stories of people who chose to end their lives, from teenagers and older adults to movie stars and famous musicians. Thoughts of suicide can come to everyone and depression can affect anyone. Suicide is not easy to explain, nor is it the easiest thing to predict but there are warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide.
Unfortunately, suicide is becoming more and more commonplace in society and even more unfortunate is the stigma associated with having thoughts of suicide. Knowing the warning signs and risk factors that are prevalent in many people before they take their lives will help you take notice to them in your loved ones and act before it’s too late.
Changes in Behavior and/or Appearance
If your friend or loved one is showing strange changes to their behavior, it could mean they have a mental disorder like depression that is going left untreated, or they may be dealing with some sort of substance abuse problem. Maybe your loved one had once been very active and now can hardly get out of bed each morning. Whatever the case may be, if their personality is much different than it was before or they’ve drastically changed their appearance, it’s worth taking a closer look.
Moodiness, Sadness, or Anger
Everyone has bad days, but extended lengths of time shouldn’t go by before the person feels happy again. If your loved one has bouts of sadness for a lengthy amount of time or their emotions seem to fluctuate frequently, it’s time to talk to them. For Chester Bennington, he had revealed in multiple interviews throughout his career that he struggled with incredibly negative thoughts that he had a hard time dealing with on his own.
Talking about Suicide
Talking about killing yourself should be taken seriously, even if it’s told in a way that is supposed to be humourous. Suicide is never funny and it shouldn’t be dropped casually in conversation. While Chester never joked about suicide during conversations with interviewers, he did discuss his overwhelming depression during his last interview. Although Chester should be considered a huge success, he still had thoughts of suicide showing that depression can hit anyone, even those who are household names. If you hear a loved one or friend talk about suicide, it should never be taken lightly.
How to Prevent Suicide
Suicide is one of the most difficult acts to prevent but it can be prevented. If you notice that your friend or family member is suddenly showing any of these symptoms, it’s a great idea to open up the lines of communication with them. Never be confrontational or critical of how they’re feeling. Since there is such a stigma associated with mental illness and suicide, the person may be unwilling to talk about their own issues. Be willing to listen with a non judgemental viewpoint, or as non-judgemental as possible.
Even if a person seems fine, you never know what is going on in their heads. If they seem to be struggling with depression or are showing signs of hopelessness, make sure to reach out. In honor of Chester Bennington’s life, Linkin Park has included resources for suicide prevention on their website.
If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or know someone who is, reaching out is always the best option.
Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
If you’re in the New York area, please contact the offices at New Horizons Counseling Center for trained professionals who are eager to help.
New Horizons Counseling Center: 718-845-2620