You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 if you are struggling with mental health issues. If you want to help people dealing with mental health issues, visit 320 Changes Direction.
Late Linkin Park and Stone Temple Pilots singer Chester Bennington’s widow Talinda discussed his death recently at the Canadian Event Safety Summit.
“The phone call I received the next morning was life-altering,” she said. “My children’s lives were altered forever. And in the travel time, which felt like a thousand years to get from Sedona back home, I knew that I had to walk into the home where my husband took his life and I had to normalize that for my children, because they were going to respond to how I reacted. I walked into that house and I walked up to the room that it happened in, I made my peace with it and then I made it as normal as I can. And that was the beginning of my journey of doing what I can do to normalize mental health.”
Talinda also opened up about her husband’s struggle with addiction, saying that before the morning he died by suicide, “he had been sober for almost six months, which was amazing for him. He had a lot of shame in the past when he had relapsed — shame that he had just begun to share with me in the couple of months before he died, shame I didn’t even know a person could have,” she said. “So when he passed, and I learned that there were two empty beer bottles in the room, I knew he had relapsed, but I also knew he wasn’t so intoxicated out of his mind like I would have thought [he would have been in order to take his own life]. I knew instantly that that drink triggered that shame, triggered a lifetime of unhealthy neural pathways.”
Talinda said that Chester “suffered from depression as a child, and it was untreated. He had traumas throughout his childhood, which many of us have — I have myself,” she admitted. “But the way his pathways kept going, they just kept going towards disaster. And by the time he died, it was so much work — I believe as Mike [Shinoda] said — it was so much work for him to just do normal stuff, to be happy.”
“As Chester’s wife, of course, you can only imagine the things that have gone through my head: ‘What did I miss? What could I have done?'” she said. “As much as social media has been a huge support for me, I do every now and then get people blaming me — straight-up blaming me — for him dying, for not saving him, for mistreating him. Who knows why these people behind their devices are saying these horribly cruel things to me? But, you know, it is a little stab in the heart, but what I have to remember is that it’s not my fault, it’s not my children’s fault, it’s not the band’s faults — it’s nobody’s fault. It’s not a fault. It’s years of untreated mental health, which led to substance abuse, which led to unhealthy relationships. By the time I met him, he was ready to be healthier.”