Slipknot founder and percussionist M. Shawn “Clown” Crahan is speaking out on the importance of mental health care following the deaths of Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington and Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell.
Speaking to the NME, Crahan discusses the recent losses of Bennington, who took his own life last month, and Cornell, who committed suicide in May. Crahan urges others to speak up if they are experiencing depression or other mental health issues, and he shares his personal grief for the affected families.
“My friends are dying, and I can't take that any more,” Crahan says. “Personally, I just want to say that I'm so saddened by the pain, the loneliness and the isolation. I'm not sure what happened. … It's a frightening thought to know that someone has something else on their mind that you don't know. I just want to say how sorry I am and how much love I have for the families.”
“To the general public, just remember the people around you,” reminds Crahan of the seriousness in looking out for others. “You might not know what they're thinking so it's always nice to be checked in on, and to check in on people.”
Crahan also addresses the “stigma against doctors, therapists and hospitals,” stating that, “There are beautiful, wonderful people in the world who have empathy and work with the human condition. They understand what being 'sick' is. It's not a human being’s fault to have chemical imbalances.”
“The people who you think are the most solid are often the most hurt,” continues Crahan. “That can be hard to wrap your head around.”
Crahan speaks from experience when confronting the topic of mental health. The musician readily admits to his own depression following the deaths of his parents and Slipknot bassist Paul Gray. However, Crahan says he's “not afraid to admit” that he sought professional help for his issues, seeing a therapist and taking part in an outpatient mental health program. The percussionist says the steps he took to care for his mental health essentially saved his life.
“It changed my fucking life,” says Crahan. “It saved the Clown’s life. I was so underwater, drowning in a hole that I created.”
“We all have flaws,” Crahan concludes. “Some people have a astigmatism in their eyes, some people have ulcers, this is the same thing. You could have anxiety, depression, OCD, ADD, paranoia, anything. It's mental health—it's not a hard thing to wrap your head around.”
“Don't be scared. These physical and mental attributes can be helped by wonderful people who dedicate their lives to helping others.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, there is help to be found. Please consider these online resources and talk to your regular doctor about your symptoms:
MentalHealth.gov – Get Immediate Help
ImAlive – Online Crisis Network
International Association For Suicide Prevention – Resources
The Anxiety And Depression Association Of America
The National Alliance On Mental Illness
American Psychiatric Association – Finding Help
National Institute Of Mental Health
American Psychological Association – Psychologist locator
Watch more: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Slipknot