The suicides of rock stars Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington were an unwelcome wakeup call. The message? That if this tragedy could befall the rich and famous, the best and brightest, if could affect anyone.
Then, at the beginning of last month, we heard another voice—Irish pop singer Sinéad O’Connor’s—in a distressed, hyper-personal plea via Facebook concerning her own mental health. Hers was the type of heroic gesture that more people in pain needed to make; it’s the first step in helping them heal.
And while many are skeptical of the made-for-TV “there, there”-ishness of Dr. Phil, the Oprah protegé has taken upon himself to invite O’Connor on his ratings-juggernaut of a show that will premiere its new season on Sept. 12.
In the preview clip (see above), O’Connor says, “I’m fed up [with] being defined as the crazy person and the child abuse survivor.” She revealed that her mother abused her physically and sexually—and it drove her to thoughts of suicide. “She ran a torture chamber; she was a person who took delight in hurting you,” O’Connor says of her mother. The singer also reveals that she attempted suicide eight times in a single year.
Besides O’Connor’s courageous efforts to get the word out, Chester Bennington’s wife last night shared via Twitter one of the last pictures taken of him before he committed suicide—a stark reminder that the face of suicide is a human one, one you might not be able to see the warning signs in.