Depression Claims Yet Another Life
The world has lost another beloved musician to suicide, further highlighting the fact that depression and mental health has become a seriously neglected issue within our society. Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington was found dead in his Southern California home on Thursday from a suspected suicide by hanging, he was 41 years old. Bennington had openly struggled with issues like depression and substance abuse for many years, claiming that many of his issues stemmed from sexual abuse he experienced when he was a child.
Bennington, who was born the youngest of four children in Phoenix, Arizona rocketed into prominence in 2000 with Linkin Park and their critically-acclaimed debut album, Hybrid Theory. Over the following 17 years, Linkin Park established itself as one of the most successful alternative rock bands of all time selling an estimated 70 million records.
Fellow Linkin Park member Mike Shinoda released a tweet shortly after the announcement of Bennington’s death stating that he was “Shocked and heartbroken.”
Bennington is survived by his wife and 6 children.
Bennington’s suicide is the most recent in an ever growing list of celebrities who have taken their own lives recently, shedding a more public light on the often shunned subject of mental health awareness in this country. Bennington was very close friends with another famous musician who also recently took his own life, Chris Cornell.
Cornell, who passed away in May, also struggled with depression and substance abuse throughout his life. According to those close to Bennington, Cornell’s suicide impacted him greatly. In fact, while it may be coincidental, Bennington’s suicide occurred on what would have been Cornell’s 53rd birthday.
While both of these singers are certainly not the only celebrities to take their own lives in recent years, their deaths are bringing more public awareness to an issue of depression and related suicides which have been increasing across most of the country. The sheer number of celebrity deaths by suicide, drug overdose and other forms of mental health disorders are finally forcing society to take a hard look at the importance of effective mental health treatment.
Depression and Suicide: A Growing Concern.
While these recent high profile suicides by celebrities like Bennington bring some awareness to issues like depression, suicide and mental health into the national conversation the extent of the problem is often left unreported. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention suicide rates in America have gradually increased over the past decade, growing from 10.97 per 100,000 in 2006 to 13.26 in 2015. This amounts to around 44,000 suicides per year in the United States alone, and if current trends continue this number will continue to grow.
Suicide, however is only the most devastating outcome of a much more widespread problem. While depression is a word that can be used to describe a spectrum of things from general unhappiness to a serious and clinically diagnosed medical condition, some estimates claim as many as 1 in 10 Americans suffer from the mental health disorder in their lifetime.
While only a fraction of those who struggle with depression end up taking their own lives, Bennington’s story is one that is unfortunately all too common in this country. Often times, depression is a lifelong struggle for people who experience alternating periods of improvement and then regression. When those periods of regression go untreated or undertreated, tragedies like Bennington’s suicide can occur.
A Stigma Which Prevents Treatment
One of the biggest issues with the treatment of depression is the social stigma that is currently associated with it. While this issue has been improving in recent years, partially due to the increased coverage of incidents like Bennington’s suicide, depression and suicide are still shunned by some segments of society.
Although depression is clearly documented as a medical condition by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), it is too often dismissed as nothing more than a case of a “weak” or “undisciplined” person who lacks the willingness to fix their own problems. For cases of clinically diagnosed depression this is simply incorrect. Depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, is defined as a common but serious mood disorder which can affect the way that an individual feels, thinks and handles daily activities. Just as with any other disease, those who are afflicted with depression do not choose to be unhappy, their unhappiness is a symptom of the medical condition that they have.
Unfortunately however, this negative stigma keeps many people who are struggling with this disease from reaching out for help. This fear of reaching out can lead to devastating situations where people suffer for years without improvement, or in cases like Bennington’s, they decide to take their own lives in an act of desperation.
Help For Depression Is Out There
Admitting to another person that you are struggling with depression can be extremely difficult for many people, but doing so is the first step towards receiving treatment which has drastically improved the lives of many. While the various different forms of depression can have different types of treatment, the good news is that there are effective methods to help many people overcome their issues.
Treatment can range from various forms of psychotherapy which can be provided by individual practitioners to different forms of pharmaceutical medications, both of which can provide amazing and positive transformations for people. While not every form of treatment is effective for every individual, the most important thing is that those who struggle with depression do not suffer alone. Emotional support from friends and family and professional and medical support from doctors and therapists are all key elements to overcoming a disease which in many cases is quite treatable.
As unfortunate as Bennington’s suicide is, perhaps his story will reach those out there who are currently suffering in silence and give them the strength and motivation to reach out and ask for the help that they, and everyone struggling with the disease of depression, truly deserve.