Brian Head Welch is one of many musicians to step forward and talk about the pain of losing both Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell and Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington in recent months; and he’s made some bold statements that have upset a few people.
Soon after news broke of Bennington’s passing, Welch took to Facebook to write, “Honestly, Chester's an old friend who we've hung with many times, and I have friends who are extremely close to him, but this is truly pissing me off! How can these guys send this message to their kids and fans?! I'm sick of this suicide s***! I've battled depression/mental illness, and I'm trying to be sympathetic, but it's hard when you're pissed! Enough is enough! Giving up on your kids, fans, and life is the cowardly way out!!!”
Some fans called the controversial post ‘judgemental’ and ‘awful’, and said that Welch was victim blaming with his statement.
The former Korn singer later apologised, saying, “I didn't mean to sound insensitive about Chester. Just dealing with a range of emotions today. Love you Chester. I'm pissed that you did this, but I know this could have been me back in the day after getting wasted one night.”
He then posted a heartfelt video, explaining the many different emotions he’d been experiencing, trying to process news of his friend’s death. He explained, “I got emotional today about it… it’s so close to home. We are a small community here in the rock world… I got mad and sad and grieving… I just don’t want it to happen anymore… I’m at that point where it’s too much. Chris Cornell’s death hit me… and then I wake up to hear an old friend did the same thing... It just shocked me. God do something good from all this tragedy… Mental illness is severe, I’ve been through it... Do anything you gotta do guys, to get past those feelings. Don’t be alone.”
Even though his initial comments seemed harsh, Welch’s honesty and way of sharing the pain with his fans might just open up the discussion further, and encourage people to take mental health more seriously. It’s pretty compelling to watch him talk about the pain of losing Chester, and the impact it’ll be having on those around him.
Watch the video below:
The following organisations are available to help anyone struggling with dark thoughts:
- NZ Music Foundation Wellbeing Service - 0508 MUSICHELP. Free counselling for NZ musicians, 24/7.
- Lifeline – 0800 543 354
- Suicide Crisis Helpline (open 24/7) – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
- Depression Helpline – 0800 111 757 – this service is staffed 24/7 by trained counsellors
- Samaritans – 0800 726 666
- Youthline (open 24/7) – 0800 376 633. Text 234 for free between 8am and midnight, or email email@example.com.
- 0800 WHATSUP (0800 9428 787) – Open between 1pm and 10pm on weekdays and from 3pm to 10pm on weekends. Online chat is available from 7pm to 10pm every day at www.whatsup.co.nz.
- Healthline – 0800 611 116