Chester Bennington death sparks calls for unity in ‘mental health crisis’

In the wake of the tragic death of Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington, charity Help Musicians wants to launch the world's first dedicated 24/7 mental health support service for people working in music.

Following the tragic death of Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington, a charity wants to launch a helpline and support network for those in the music industry experiencing mental health issues.

Bennington, 41, took his own life last Thursday. The Grammy-nominated singer, who previously spoke about his ongoing battle with depression, was found in his home near Los Angeles.

His death, coming so soon after the suicide of Chris Cornell – a friend of Bennington and lead singer of rock group Soundgarden – has driven Help Musicians, Britain’s largest independent music charity, to call for industry-wide action.

Help Musicians, which offers health and welfare support, has called for people to unite against the ‘mental health crisis’ facing the industry and back the world’s first dedicated mental health service for people working in music.

The charity’s Music Minds Matter campaign would see the launch of a 24/7 mental health service, offering advice and access to medical, clinic and therapeutic support.

The music industry has a dark history with the tragic loss of too many amazing people to suicide

The campaign has already received the backing of high-profile musicians, including Matthew Leone, bassist with Madina Lake who toured with Linkin Park in 2007: “I spent many hours working alongside Chester and he was an incredibly passionate man,” Leone said. “I’m sure that this investment and the Music Minds Matter campaign would have met with his approval.”

Rou Reynolds, lead singer of Enter Shikari, has also backed the campaign: “The music industry has a dark history with the tragic loss of too many amazing people to suicide, so I’m very happy to hear about Music Minds Matter and support them in all they’re about to do.”

The recent deaths of Bennington and Cornell highlights a known but seemingly unaddressed issue of mental health provision within the industry, one which ex-Babyshambles drummer Adam Ficek has recently spoken out about:

“From my time spent in the music industry at both grass roots and top level I have seen and personally experienced the struggles within,” Ficek said. “From the elevation of fame to the collapse of worth, there needs to be a network in place to support the complexities of artistic human suffering within the commercial environment.”

Singer-songwriter Frank Turner has always spoke candidly about mental health. In an exclusive piece written for The Big Issue in 2015, the musician reflected on the suicide of his friend and punk-rock legend, Josh Burdette, highlighting the need for open and necessary discussion.

Research conducted by Help Musicians found that of more than 2,000 people surveyed, two thirds had experienced incidents of depression with over half recognising a gap in mental health services.

“We need the music industry to step up, arm in arm with Help Musicians, and match our support pound for pound, so we are proud to launch the Music Minds Matter campaign,” said Richard Robinson, CEO of Help Musicians UK. “The forthcoming specialist 24/7 mental health service will be a global first and go hand in hand with Help Musicians’ traditional health and welfare support, which offers advice and often financial support to people in the industry across a wide range of issues.”

The charity has kicked the campaign off with a £100,000 investment. Doubling this investment would sustain the service beyond 2018. You can donate to the charity’s fundraising efforts here.

If you have been affected by any of the issues discussed, you can contact: