Time to Tell My Story


There’s a sensitive topic I haven’t talked much about over the past three years. I cannot say it is a great topic to discuss, so I’ll be direct.

On July 20, 2017, Chester Bennington, from the band Linkin Park, died by suicide.

This event had a profound impact on me, as it did on millions of fans around the globe. Each story is unique, and I have decided to tell my own story.

I graduated with a Master of Education degree in Youth Development Leadership from the University of Minnesota in 2018. I started in 2015, and chose to concentrate my studies on youth suicide awareness and prevention. I read specific books recommended by the professor of my independent study course, compiled resources into final presentations, and even facilitated a graduate seminar on Youth Suicide Prevention, Awareness, & Response. Through school, I participated in several conversations about suicide, death, and grief. One conversation in the seminar was about Robin Williams and the topic of “death with dignity”. Celebrities are not immune from the risks that lead to suicide, and their passing can be troubling for their fans and colleagues.

I was riding the train home when I scrolled passed Chester’s photo on social media. I read the headline. “Chester Bennington Dead”. It took several moments before it sank in. I transferred from the train to the bus. I started looking for more headlines to confirm what I just saw. Was this a celebrity death hoax? When Mike Shinoda tweeted it was real, it really hit me. I was almost home.

I don’t remember the rest of the night. I was stunned.

I will be telling more of my story, piece by piece, with tales of school, work, and personal exploration.