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After the shocking news a couple of weeks ago regarding Chester Bennington, who was a teenage hero for many. Through his music he helped many express themselves in ways they couldn’t express through any other method. It was shocking to the world as it seemed Chester was very outspoken about mental health and he also recently spoke about against suicide in recent interviews about his good friend Chris Cornell.

The question which I had and I am sure many others also thought ‘If he was so aware of all of this, then why did he still go ahead with it?’ Literature states that the main reasons why individuals attempt suicide is to escape or relieve themselves of very painful emotions and thoughts. Another reason is a desire to send a message to people about one’s mood state or how one feels. Obviously we do not know the answer regarding Chester, one can only speculate. But it seems like Chester experienced previous trauma in his life which lead him to take on a path of addiction to illegal narcotics. His addiction helped him to self-medicate himself to forget about the pain for a while. Despite the fact that Chester managed to curb his addiction, his mental health issues seemed like it was still something he had to face on a regular basis.

What to look out for in individuals who might exhibit suicidal tendencies:

  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide.
  • Increased hopelessness.
  • Finding ways into a means to end their life such as; pills, weapons etc.
  • Increased alcohol and drug use.
  • Increase in risky activities.
  • Having no purpose in life.
  • Drastic changes in mood.
  • Withdrawing from friends and family.
  • Feeling like there is no way out.
  • Talking about going away somewhere far away.
  • Giving out their personal possessions.

If you have doubt whether an individual is thinking about suicide, speak about it with the person in an empathic but direct manner.

Ask whether the individual:

  • Has a concrete plan.
  • Has the means to do it.
  • Had any previous suicide attempt/s
  • Thinks often about suicide.

If it seems like an individual has thoughts about suicide, advise them to speak to a professional about it as soon as possible. If possible explain that you are concerned for the individual’s safety and try and persuade the individual to let you help him since he reached out to talk about it with you, that signifies that the individual would like someones help. Take the individual to hospital as the first point of reference, with the individual’s consent of course. Explain to the individual that you are concerned for the them and express your desire to see them get through this negative experience that they are currently experiencing.

Important contacts:

179 – 24 Hour Support Line

112 – Ambulance

25450000 – Mater Dei

www.kellimni.com – Online chat and email support

Karl Grech is a counsellor. He offers counselling to both individuals and couples within Willingness. He can be contacted on karl@willingness.com.mt.