If you logged onto Twitter this afternoon, you probably came across the sad news that Lincoln Park frontman Chester Bennington has passed away from an apparent suicide at only forty-one years old. Bennington focused his lyrics on his own personal struggles, addiction and depression- his voice being applauded by millions but unfortunately not heard when it mattered the most.
We need to destigmatize the conversation surrounding mental health. Right now, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States; a person dying from it around every 11.9 minutes. Ninety percent of all people who die by suicide have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death. Depression affects nearly eight percent percent of Americans aged eighteen and older in a given year. More people suffer from depression than coronary heart disease, cancer, and HIV/AIDS yet we still can’t seem to realize that mental health is just as important as physical health. Depression is one of if not the most treatable of psychiatric illnesses. Between 80 percent and 90 percent of people who have depression respond positively to treatment and almost all patients are able to gain some relief from their symptoms. But before all of this can happen, depression needs to be recognized. The best way we can prevent suicide is through early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of depression and other mental health conditions.
Don’t be afraid to speak up about mental health because it’s an important conversation! Nobody should feel ashamed to talk about their mental health and what they’re going through. We as a whole should feel ashamed at the lack of understanding and access to affordable and easy treatment. Mental health needs so much more attention than it gets because mental illness does not discriminate. It doesn’t care who you are, what you do or how much money you make. It comes after everyone. Please reach out to your friends and family who struggle with their own mental health. People who have a mental illness who seem positive and optimistic aren’t any less important. People take medications for high cholesterol. People go to physical therapy if they have a broken hip. So why the stigma surrounding mental health treatment? Mental health and depression shouldn’t be something taboo. It’s okay to talk about it and have loved ones around you help. People want to help. If you or anyone you know has suicidal thoughts- seek help. Talk.