We only remember mental health when someone (famous) commits suicide
And this shouldn’t be the case
Jul 26, 2017
Chester Bennington, lead singer of well-loved rock band Linkin Park, was found dead in his California home last July 21. Reports later confirmed that the 41-year-old took his own life by hanging himself.
Fans and colleagues from the music industry have since paid tribute to Bennington through various platforms online. Linkin Park has even put up a suicide prevention site in the singer’s honor, which also features tribute posts from fans all over the globe. The site’s banner photo shows Bennington performing in front of a large crowd. Underneath, the message is heart-wrenchingly clear: “#RIPCHESTER.”
Linkin Park also included contact details of some suicide prevention hotlines. “In case you or someone you know needs support, here are some resources,” the site reads.
Bennington was very vocal about his struggle with depression. In an interview with radio station 102.7 KIIS FM earlier this year, he called his mind a “bad neighborhood.”
“I should not be there alone. I can’t be there by myself… This is a bad place for me to be in by myself,” he told the host, who just laughed at the remark. “I don’t say nice things to myself. There’s another Chester in there that wants to take me down.”
The unexpected death of Bennington, who has been battling with depression and substance abuse for years, has put a spotlight once again on the importance of mental health and suicide prevention. But here’s the thing: Mental health is important all year round, 24/7—and not only when someone succumbs to crippling depression.
I speak from experience, too. When I was younger, a close friend of mine took his own life after a few months of living alone in another country. I was one of his confidants so I knew that he wasn’t exactly happy abroad. I later realized that he tried telling us several times that something was wrong, but we dismissed him on a regular basis. What I wrote off as a bad case of teenage angst turned out to be a cry for help.
One day, the Facebook messages and phone calls stopped. We learned that our friend was in the hospital, in a coma, because he had tried to kill himself by hanging. A week later, he was declared brain-dead, the plug was pulled, and that was that.
Looking back, we could have done more. I know I could have done more. And I think this is something that everyone should know: You can always do more to help someone struggling with mental health issues. And if, by any chance, that person who needs help is you, don’t hesitate to seek the assistance you need. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
Here are a few things you should know about depression and mental health:
“Depression is the leading cause of disability in the world”
According to a TED-Ed webisode, depression is a mental illness that lingers and “significantly interferes” with one’s ability to carry out daily tasks.
Depression has many symptoms and it’s more difficult to diagnose
Depression is triggered by a number of physiological and environmental factors. If you have at least five of the symptoms below, you may be suffering from depression:
- Low mood and low energy
- A general loss of interest
- Significant changes in appetite
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Feeling worthless or excessively guilty
- Poor concentration
- Restlessness or extreme sluggishness
- Recurring thoughts of suicide
And if you think that you could be clinically depressed, the smart thing to do would be to seek help professional help and treatment. Remember, most people who have depression may be in denial or may not even know that they’re suffering from mental illness.
Talking about depression helps
If you have depression, it’s better to be open about it. Communicate with loved ones and friends. Go see a therapist you’re comfortable with. Do not feel guilty or ashamed.
If you think you know someone who is suffering from depression, reach out. Gently ask them about how they’re feeling and encourage them to see a psychiatrist.
Sometimes, there are no symptoms
This is the tricky part of depression. Whether it affects you or someone else, there are times you won’t be able to tell that it’s there. So how can you help when you don’t even know what you’re dealing with? Simple—be kind. Be sensitive to people around you. You don’t need a reason to be kind to someone. This may sound cheesy, but even the simplest acts of kindness can uplift and inspire those who need some cheering up. You know what they say, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”
Last but certainly not the least, because we can’t stress this enough…
It’s okay to seek help
Been down lately? Can’t shake off this tired, drowsy feeling? Or can’t sleep at all? Maybe it’s time you went to a psychiatrist or therapist. If you aren’t comfortable booking an appointment alone, ask a family member or close friend to accompany you.
And just in case, here are the contact details of the country’s toll-free, 24-hour suicide prevention hotline under the Department of Health, the World Health Organization, and the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation:
- 2919 for Globe and TM subscribers
Photos courtesy of Unsplash
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