By now, most anyone who has a social media has heard of the death of Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington on July 20. His death was ruled a suicide. Words of sympathy, shock, outrage, and even anger have overtaken social media in response. Perhaps the most discussed is that of Korn Guitarist Brian Welch, who called suicide “the cowardly way out.” After the backlash of this comment, Welch followed up with this on Facebook.
I didn’t mean to sound insensitive about Chester. Just dealing with a range of emotions today. Love you Chester. I’m pissed that you did this, but I know this could have been me back in the day after getting wasted one night.
Outraged fans must not forget that anger is part of the grieving process. Welch’s words were not ones of purposeful insensitivity, but ones of shock and grief. This comes just months after the death of Chris Cornell, Soundgarden singer.
While it sometimes seems to take the action or reaction of a celebrity to bring awareness to something, the topic of suicide is one that does not fall into that category. It is always there in the dark corners of our minds. It is not necessarily a taboo topic, but a quiet one. In recent months, there have been posts and claims that there is no interest in suicides until a celebrity has passed away. If anything, it is those words that are insensitive, not the grieving words of a friend.
Instead of ending this article in a list of celebrities fallen victim to their personal demons, it will be with statistics and options for help. Mental illness and addiction affect millions in the United States, which is a leading contributor to suicide. Prevention is difficult, but not impossible. Killing the stigma attached to mental illness and addiction is the first step to fighting suicide.
- According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
- Each year, 44,193 people die by suicide. This makes 121 people a day.
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