“Finding Hope: Battling America’s Suicide Crisis,” a CNN Special Report hosted by Anderson Cooper, airs Sunday, June 24, at 7 p.m. ET. If you or someone you know needs help, call the national suicide hotline: 1-800-273-TALK.
Now, nearly a year after Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington took his own life, it’s clear to his widow that in the days before he died, there were warning signs.
“I am now more educated about those signs, but they were definitely there: the hopelessness, the change of behavior, isolation,” Talinda Bennington told CNN during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper during the CNN Town Hall, “Finding Hope: Battling America’s Suicide Crisis.”
The program airs Sunday, June 24, at 7 p.m. ET.
But, Bennington explained, these behaviors weren’t uncommon for her husband, a father of six who had battled depression for a long time.
“That was all part of our daily life,” she said. “Sometimes, some signs were there more than others. Sometimes, they weren’t there at all.”
’We thought everything was OK’
In the days before he died, Chester Bennington had seemed happy and well, his widow recalled.
Indeed, the night before the 41-year-old took his own life at the couple’s California home, “he was (at) his best,” she said.
“We were on a family vacation, and he decided to go back home to do a television commercial,” his widow recalled. “This was not a time where we or any of our family suspected this to happen, which is terrifying. … We thought everything was OK.”
In retrospect, though, Talinda Bennington realizes her husband was in a dark place.
’I could not relate’
Bennington emphasized that there is no simple explanation for her husband’s struggles over the years, attributing his depression to a confluence of factors.
Asking for help
The suicide rate in the United States has seen sharp increases in recent years. Studies have shown that the risk of suicide declines sharply when people call the national suicide hotline: 1-800-273-TALK.
- There is also a crisis text line. For crisis support in Spanish, call 1-888-628-9454.
- The lines are staffed by a mix of paid professionals and unpaid volunteers trained in crisis and suicide intervention. The confidential environment, the 24-hour accessibility, a caller's ability to hang up at any time and the person-centered care have helped its success, advocates say.The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide also provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.
The musician was open about his troubled life, including his experience battling addictions to cocaine and methamphetamine. He also said he suffered sexual abuse as a child.
“It’s a lifetime of building blocks to unhealthy emotional, mental behavior, emotional pain,” Bennington described.
“If we can find good coping mechanisms, if we have people we trust that we can talk to, that helps us to make better choices for ourselves,” she said. “And my husband didn’t have that in a lot of situations.”
Witnessing her husband’s suffering made Bennington determined to educate herself on the causes and effects of depression, she told Cooper.
“I don’t suffer from depression,” she said. “I never have.
“Watching my husband go through it, I had no idea. I could not relate.”