Is Suicide A Cowardly Act?

In the wake of the sudden loss of Linkin Park’s front man Chester Bennington to suicide earlier this week, the outward pouring of grief from fans, his band mates, fellow musicians, friends and his family speaks of the collective heartbreak of the loss of a man who will be missed.

Korn guitarist Ben “Head” Welch initially called Chester a coward before altering his statement.

Is suicide the act of a coward? Some may say yes. It is giving into our personal darkness instead of fighting and finding a way towards the light.

To label suicide as the act of a coward is wrong. It does not help those who are dealing with the pain of mental illness and it does not help the loved ones who lost someone to suicide.

Mental illness and suicide are a call for help. To label someone who has committed suicide as a coward only ostracizes those who are haunted by the specter of mental illness and the thoughts that lead to suicide.

I understand that grieving often brings us to say and do things we would not do otherwise. I also understand that we are all entitled to our opinions. But at the same time, the statement that suicide is cowardly only hurts the effort to prevent suicide and help those who feel that it is the only way out from their pain.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Is Suicide A Cowardly Act?

  1. Back about 18 years ago, the husband of one of my co-workers shot himself in their backyard, leaving no note. At the time, I was angry and in the privacy of my home did call him a selfish coward. But over the years, my attitude has changed. Maybe it’s because I battle with my on depression and anxiety stemming from childhood trauma, that the deaths of Chris and Chester have hit me especially hard. These were both kind, and well respected musicians who were haunted their entire lives by the abuse they suffered as children. It’s so heartbreaking that even their family, friends, talent and success, ultimately couldn’t pull them back from the abyss. Cowardly? Certainly not. And someone like Ben Welch, who has struggled with his own mental health issues should know better.

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