A day after the lead singer for the rock group Linkin Park took his own life, regional mental health experts are weighing in on the subject of suicide.
Chester Bennington died on Thursday, the birthday of Chris Cornell, another American rock icon whose death came at his own hands. Both were close friends. Both wrote dark lyrics that were an escape for fans. But they’re also a window into the minds of men who did not have to use a permanent and poor solution for temporary problems.
Chester Bennington’s dark lyrics reflected his constant state of struggle. Chris Cornell’s songs often made direct reference to suicide. Even Cornell’s last song was a brooding cover of Led Zeppelin’s “In My Time of Dying,” and Bennington had become combative with fans and his band in weeks leading up to his death. But private citizens don’t have such reach when it comes to public cries for help.
“Such as feeling hopeless, such as feeling helpless; such as a deep, dark sadness; they may have social withdrawal,” said John Antal, clinical coordinator, Robert C. Byrd Child Behavioral Health Center.
–or uncharacteristic behavior, like extreme anger. There may not be a suicide note, but perhaps purchasing of a firearm, or giving away prized possessions. There are those at particular risk of suicide.
“Three common things are associated: depression, anxiety and substance abuse,” said Don Ogden, director of behavioral medicine, Trinity Health System.
Family and friends should determine three things.
“Are they having thoughts? Do they have a plan? And do they have access to that plan?” said Ogden of the questions people should ask.
Then intervene. At least talk to them. If needed, get them to a hospital. But there’s also those most don’t think of as at-risk of suicide: children. 21st century bullying doesn’t stay on the playground anymore.
“Nowadays, you go home there’s social media, there’s Facebook and email, total access,” said Antal.
24/7 access for bullies to taunt their peers. A developing mind may see these problems as bigger than they are.
“Because if you’re 12, 13, 14 and you feel like you’re getting bullied, you feel like, ‘this is the end of my life. This is the end of my world,’” said Antal.
Some teens might not mean to take their life, but accidentally kill themselves in self-abuse, like cutting.
“So even it’s a very hot day and you see someone wearing sweatshirts, long pants, boots, things like that, they may be hiding something (like their cutting wounds),” Antal said
Regardless of the symptoms presented, experts say take it seriously.
“Even if someone you feel (is being) manipulating or threatening by saying they’re thinking about suicide, please act on it. Because for someone to go to that extreme, even if it is manipulation, there’s still something serious going on and we need to act on it,” said Ogden.
Those most at risk of suicide are older, white males. A lack of social interaction increases that risk. The suicide prevention lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.