Chester Bennington’s wife Talinda said she wanted to show “what depression looked like”. (Reuters: Steve Marcus)
A video showing late Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington laughing with his family hours before taking his own life has offered a reminder that depression is not always obvious.
Bennington’s wife Talinda shared the video, showing him eating mystery flavoured jellybeans with his children, on Twitter earlier this week.
This is what depression looked like to us just 36 hrs b4 his death. He loved us SO much & we loved him.
She said it showed “what depression looked like to us” 36 hours before his death at his southern California home in July 2017.
“I’m showing this so that you know that depression doesn’t have a face or a mood,” she said in another tweet.
If you or anyone you know needs help:
Depression can come in many forms and fluctuate from day to day, Beyond Blue clinical adviser Stephen Carbone explained.
“His demeanour might have been, on that day [the video was filmed], as seen to be fine from all appearances,” Dr Carbone said.
“But you don’t necessarily know what’s going on in a person’s head, in their life.
“And maybe deep down there was a lot more going on than he wanted people to know, or that they were able to detect from his behaviour.”
People may hide depression ‘to protect family’
People with depression may also try to hide their condition to “keep up appearances”, Dr Carbone said.
“They may not want to let other people know about it partly through embarrassment or shame, because there’s still some stigma attached to having mental health conditions.
“But also some people are trying to protect their family and don’t want to be a burden.”
But Dr Carbone said there could be some tell-tale signs.
“Anyone where you notice a significant change in their demeanour or behaviour is someone that you should be wondering: ‘I wonder what’s going on here’,” he said.
He said people with depression could become irritable and moody, start doing less of what they enjoy, become socially withdrawn, seem distracted and become not as talkative.
There are also some signs people could be having suicidal thoughts, Dr Carbone said.
“People start … alluding to death, they might be starting to talk in a more morbid way,” he said.
“A real concern is when people start to give away possessions, or say goodbyes to people, like wanting to tell them something special because ‘I might not have another chance to say this to you’.”
‘It’s OK to ask’
Dr Carbone said family and friends were often the first to notice when someone is depressed, and it is important to ask them: “Is everything alright?”
He said you could give an example of what is worrying you, and let them know you are there if they want to talk.
“Where people go wrong is they’re a bit shy, or they feel it’s prying to ask — and it’s not. It’s OK to ask,” he said.
“You’re more likely to do good than harm.”
If they do talk to you, Dr Carbone said it was important to listen.
“The most important thing you can do is listen in a non-judgemental, non-dismissive way, not trying to play down their issues or try to solve them, but just hearing them out,” he said.
He said you could encourage them to call a telephone counselling service or visit their GP.
But he said, if you are “really, really concerned about someone who is telling you everything is alright”, you may need to contact health services on their behalf.
“Many people regret not having taken that further action sometimes,” he said.