March 20 marks what would have been the 42nd birthday of the late Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington, who tragically took his own life last July. His widow, Talinda, is asking fans to mark the occasion in a special way — one that calls awareness to the need for mental health support in America.
On social media and the mental health advocacy website Change Direction, Talinda asked fans to share selfies of themselves with “I am the change” written on their palms in honor of Chester’s birthday. The reason for writing on the hand? Five fingers signify the five signs of emotional distress: personality change, feeling agitated, withdrawal, poor self-care, and a feeling of hopelessness. They also signify the five habits of emotional well-being: Take care, check in, engage, relax, and know the five signs.
Fans responded in droves, posting shots of themselves holding up their hands … or shots of just their hands alone, all hashtagged #iamthechange, #320ChangesDirection, or #MakeChesterProud.
Some of Bennington’s famous friends also participated, including bandmate Mike Shinoda and wife Anna as well as Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds.
Talinda explained her involvement with the awareness project on the Change Direction site: “After my husband lost his battle with depression and addiction, I knew I had to make a change to the mental health landscape. I began speaking to as many mental health groups as I could find,” she related.
“We do need to do two things. We need to streamline access to the help that IS available. And we need to change the culture of mental health so that those in need — and their family members — are able to speak openly about their struggles so that they can seek the care they deserve.”
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