On Chester Bennington’s death anniversary, we’re talking about why mental health matters

Today, we urge people to check on their loved ones

By Hareem Fatima

KARACHI: Growing up in Pakistan, Linkin Park has been a huge part of our lives. However, now when we think of Linkin Park, we can simply not shake off the thought of the tragedy that struck this band on 20th July, 2017: Lead singer of the band, Chester Bennington lost his life to suicide.

It hit us hard because none of us could have seen it coming. While it plunged us towards sorrow, it also made us question the reality of the way a person with suicidal tendencies appears on the outside. A culture which has been quick to place blame on poverty, abuse, sexual violence, lack of a good quality of life, as well as lack of faith for below-par mental health stood questioning its own narratives around it.

Why would he do that to himself when he seemed to have everything in this world anyone could want?

This very question pushed us into redefining our outlook on suicide and depression and we came to the conclusion that its something that grows deep inside, well hidden by those who are suffering as they keep smiling, laughing and participating in worldly affairs. All of this can easily mislead people into thinking the sufferer is perfectly fine but is really not.

Chester Bennington’s suicide not only made mental health a more talked about topic, but it also made those suffering more visible and looked after.

While more people opened up afterwards, mental healthcare is still considered a luxury considering how expensive it usually is. Lower socioeconomic classes in Pakistan lack the awareness and resources available, hence mental healthcare is mostly a privilege that remains in the hands of people who are willing and able to pay for it.

Today, we urge people to check on their loved ones, talk to people you think might need to express themselves, give each other enough space to be able to feel free while they try to talk about their mental health issues and finally educate yourselves on the matter.

Here are a few helplines ready to help out anyone in need:

  1. www.umang.pk. Phone: +92 317 4288665
  2. 042-35761999 – Helpline for Suicide Prevention
  3. #BaatKaro Suicide Prevention Initiative – WhatsApp: 03355743344


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