Chester Bennington

Disregarding your personal feelings towards the band known as Linkin Park, everyone recognizes that they’re one of the biggest selling bands in the world. Unfortunately, they lost their lead vocalist in July of 2017 due to suicide caused by mental health issues. Chester Bennington was no stranger to the demons that he faced through depression. In an interview earlier that same year, he said, “The place between my ears, that’s a bad neighbourhood, I should not be in there alone.” Bennington was, and still is, the face and voice of an entire generation of pissed off teenagers. He and the rest of the band clearly knew that he was always dealing with his demons. The demons that were constantly tormenting him were the reasons why he was able to sing in a way that so many confused teenagers could relate to and understand.

When Bennington was younger, he suffered from an unstable home environment, sexual abuse for years from an older male, substance abuse as a coping mechanism, and physical bullying from his peers at school. He found an escape from his negative thoughts through art, poetry, and music. Bennington eventually found his way to Linkin Park by auditioning alongside the other band members. Bennington and Mike Shinoda, the other vocalist for the band, wrote their debut album, Hybrid Theory, together, and the rest is history.

Bennington is survived by his ex-wife, his wife, and six children. His current wife, Talinda Bennington, came forward with a video of her husband 36 hours before his suicide. In the video she posted on Twitter, Bennington is laughing. This showcases that “depression doesn’t have a face or a mood.” At the tribute concert known as “Linkin Park and Friends Celebrate Life in Honor of Chester Bennington” at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, Talinda Bennington announced an initiative known as 320 – after the late Bennington’s birthday. By partnering with “Give an Hour” and Change Direction, the mental health initiative hopes to be a resource to not only to those suffering due to mental health issues, but to answer questions pertaining to mental health from friends, family, and medical practitioners. In short, they hope to save lives.

When the world lost Chester Bennington, people were shocked and appalled despite the vocalist having openly and publicly discussed his mental health struggles in interviews. Even by listening to popular songs such as “Crawling” and “Numb,” it was clear that these lyrics were portraying the demons that Bennington, the writer of the songs, faced. Despite this blatant information, people were still saying, “But he looked so happy.” Through Bennington’s death, we can see that although mental health is slowly being destigmatized, there is still a long journey ahead of us.