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Mental Health Awareness Matters | A Tribute to Chris Cornell

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By: Kacy Ritter

Last night, I listened to a Seattle radio station host hour after hour of Chris Cornell’s music. They featured everything from unforgettable Soundgarden songs to covers from obscure shows and hits from Audioslave. By the end of the evening, I had read nearly a dozen articles about Cornell’s life. Through all of it, one thing kept ringing true for me – whether you are a bonafide rock star or person who cannot afford a stereo, no one is immune from the effects of mental illness.

Mental health awareness matters.

 

This is truly all that can be said. This isn’t about sensationalizing the passing of a great artist, or sensationalizing the tragic experience of addiction. Reading through years’ worth of articles, I came across dozens of Cornell’s personal comments about his struggles with substance use and depression. As a facility for co-occurring disorders, I don’t think we get to ignore heartbreaking events like these. Yesterday, a beloved artist passed away because he battled with mental illness. Today, many more may be fighting the very same battle. They don’t have to do it alone.

Addiction destroys lives. Depression kills. Both are disorders of the brain.

 

To hope that anyone should be able to “push through” or “fight harder” is a misconception. This year, millions upon millions of Americans will attempt to battle these vicious disorders alone, to no avail. Addiction doesn’t work that way and neither does depression. When they collide, the effects are even worse.

To Cornell’s family members and friends, we offer our heartfelt condolences. Some of us have been where you are. Others have felt just like Chris.

 

I know many of our staff members – myself included – have powerful, nostalgic memories of Cornell’s music. While the reaction may be to remember only these fond memories, we cannot ignore this truth: When it comes to mental health, remembering what is difficult is just as important. Talking openly about mental health creates awareness and awareness creates change.

 

Today, when you’re listening to Soundgarden, remember that people around you may be suffering. Open your hearts. Be kind. Talk openly about mental health. Share your own struggles. It may be the key to life and happiness for others.

 

If you or a loved one are are struggling please seek help now.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline 800-273-8255

National Suicide Prevention Online chat:
http://chat.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx