The Beautiful Way Chester Bennington’s Wife Talinda Is Reaching Out To Linkin Park Fans Struggling With Depression & Suicidal Thoughts To #MakeChesterProud

Arianna Jeret
Chester Bennington's Widow Talinda Tells Twitter To #FuckDepression, #MakeChesterProud, #ChangeDirection & Know The Five Signs

Just a little less than two years ago, on September 7, 2017, Chester Bennington's grieving widow, Talinda, shared a family photo on Twitter taken just days before the Linkin Park singer died by suicide at the age of 41.

The photo, which appears to have been taken at Terranea Resort, a popular hang out for residents of Palos Verdes Estates (the hilltop town where the Benningtons lived), Greater Los Angeles, and tourists alike, is a selfie that manages to capture a beaming Chester, clearly adoring Talinda, and four of his six joyous children.

The heartbreaking caption reads, "This was days b4 my husband took his own life.Suicidal thoughts were there,but you'd.Never kmow. #fuckdepression."

With that hashtag and the others she has now taken to promoting in her passionate work as an advocate for mental health awareness — including #MakeChesterProud, #ChangeDirection and #320ChangesDirection — Talinda has shown the world how powerful a medium social media can be for making positive change in the all-too-real real world of people's every day lives.

RELATED: 11 Linkin Park Songs That Take On A Whole New Meaning After Chester Bennington's Suicide

For the record, Bennington's children include son Tyler Lee and twins daughters Lily and Lilla with Talinda Bentley (below center), whom he married in 2006, sons Jaime and Isaiah from a previous relationship with Elka Brand and son Draven with his first wife, Samantha Marie Olit, whom he married in 1996 and divorced in 2005.

Getty Images

Chester & Talinda Bennington with kids

When celebrity interviewer extraordinaire, Robin Leach once asked, "What is it like to be Chester?", Bennington answered with this super sweet, albeit somewhat confusing, statement:

"Let me give you a typical day. I’m a recovering alcoholic, that’s the first thing. I have a big family. I’ve got three kids in college, one in high school, one in fifth grade and twin girls who are 5; they are in pre-K. I have two pigmy goats, three bantam chickens, a tortoise, six dogs, two cats, fish, so I have a farm ... I eat breakfast and get the kids to school. I weight lift for an hour or two, then I head to the studio sometimes depending if I have stuff to do that day, hit meetings. I love football, super stoked about football season. Yeah, so you know, it’s a pretty awesome life."

Other than the fact that his calculations add up to seven kids total, not six (mystery child, perhaps?), it's quite clear this a was man with a life overflowing with love.

In this video, Chester practically glows with love for his videographer — Talinda!

One of Chester's love poems to his wife.

And just as clearly, Talinda has made a choice to ensure that her husband's far-too-early and tragic death spurs some healing for others.

In a statement to People Magazine just after her husband was found, having hung himself from a bedroom door, 40-year-old model Talinda said:

“One week ago, I lost my soulmate and my children lost their hero-their Daddy... We had a fairytale life and now it has turned into some sick Shakespearean tragedy. How do I move on? How do I pick up my shattered soul?"

"The only answer I know is to raise our babies with every ounce of love I have left. I want to let my community and the fans worldwide know that we feel your love. We feel your loss as well. My babies are so young to have lost their daddy. And I know that all of you will help keep his memory alive. He was a bright, loving soul with an angel’s voice. And now he is pain free singing his songs in all of our hearts. May God Bless us all and help us turn to one another when we are in pain. Chester would’ve wanted us to do so. Rest In Peace, my love.”

Talinda is making good on doing her part to ensure that her own prayer is answered a beautifully modern way — hashtags and mental health awareness advocacy.

After the widow's Twitter account was heartlessly hacked just hours after his passing by someone posting cruel lies alleging she had been unfaithful and was glad he had died, anyone would have understood if Talinda Bennington had chosen to go radio silent on social media for good.

Instead, she took to actively tweeting and retweeting support for others struggling with depression and battling mental health stigma.

Not only does she retweet the heart-warming thoughts shared by fellow celebs, as might be expected, but she is there for anyone and everyone in need of a kind and understanding human connection.

Over the past two years, Talinda has built a powerful platform providing help and support to for people fighting depression.

As explained on the Make Chester Proud website, "After reading a book by Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park was inspired to build on Chester’s legacy through the creation of #MakeChesterProud. The hashtag was meant to embody Chester’s generosity and kindness, spreading a message of mental health awareness and openly sharing personal struggles."

The non-profit organization, incorporated in 2019, is dedicated to supporting those "struggling with their mental health from a peer perspective on our various social media pages ... [and] through educating as many people as we can about suicide intervention and prevention."

Talinda has also partnered with two additional mental health support organizations:

  • Give An Hour: A national nonprofit established in 2005, whose mission "is to develop national networks of volunteers capable of responding to both acute and chronic conditions that arise within our society. By harnessing the skill and expertise of volunteer professionals, we are able to increase the likelihood that those in need receive the support and care they deserve."
  • The Change Direction Initiative: Self-described as "a collection of concerned citizens, nonprofit leaders, and leaders from the private sector who have come together to change the culture about mental health, mental illness, and wellness." Their five-pronged approach involves the following:

 

  • Sharing their awareness video (as we are doing here)
  • Making a pledge to know the five signs and learn the healthy habits
Know the Five Signs
Healthy Habits of Emotional Well-being
  • Donating what you can to help change direction
  • Joining the initiative on social media by posting their downloadable tools
  • Posting a five signs selfie showing you know the signs

In case you were wondering, here's Prince Harry's:

RELATED: 16 Linkin Park Song Lyrics That Helped Me Battle My Anxiety And Depression

Thankfully, Talinda's efforts are paying off.

Nothing will ever replace the gaping hole Chester's absence leaves in Talinda's heart or in the hearts of his children, everyone who knew him personally and the rest of us who loved him for his music.

But thanks to the beautiful seeds she has only just begun planting in his name, Chester Bennington's legacy of overflowing love seems sure to live on in eternity.

Please remember that there are several options if you or someone you know needs help to deal with an immediate crisis. Call 911 if you think a family member may harm themselves or others.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

RELATED: My Never Before Released Audio Interview With Chester Bennington From Linkin Park​

Deputy Editor Arianna Jeret has been featured in Cosmopolitan, The Huffington Post, Yahoo, Bustle, PopSugar and Parents, among others. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram for more.

Keywords: depression, mental health, news, social media, suicide, Linkin Park, twitter, mental illness, health and wellness, suicide prevention, suicidal thoughts, mental health stigma, chester bennington, mental health awareness, entertainment and news

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