I am often asked to speak about depression and self-harm, and this was especially the case with inquiries from the media after the death of Chester Bennington. Chester was the lead singer of the rock band Linkin Park and he completed suicide in July 2017. This is certainly crushing to his family and friends, but when a celebrity whom we love and admire—whose lyrics speak to us and we feel like we can relate to—takes their own life we all participate in the shock, reflection, and mourning that occurs.
I spoke about celebrity suicide on Jewel 88.5 FM radio in July and I was interviewed by CityNews Toronto last week about the recent video Chester Bennington's wife posted on Twitter. I tried to challenge listeners and viewers to think about people in our own lives as well. Are we asking the right questions to our loved ones? Instead of our usual, "how are you?" why don't we ask the more difficult questions: "You said you haven't been sleeping well. What's keeping you up at night?" or "I know you're going through a break up. How are you coping?" or simply, "How is your mental health?" Sometimes a direct question can open up a conversation and we can direct our friends and family to the right resources.
Asking these questions can be tough, and it can also be difficult supporting a loved one who is struggling. I invite you to a free workshop that I'm hosting at Shift on Sunday, October 1 from 1pm-2:30pm, on "How to Support a Loved One Through Tough Times." Space is limited so please reserve your spot in advance! Participants will leave with actionable strategies to help loved ones and to help themselves through difficult times.