Creed's Scott Stapp Talks Mental Health, Cornell & Bennington Deaths

By Keri Blakinger 08/14/17

"I admired their work and felt connected to what their struggles were because my struggles have been the same.”

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Scott Stapp
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Creed singer Scott Stapp opened up last week about the suicides of fellow rockers Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington, revealing how much he relates to their struggles and asking for more compassion in addressing mental illness.

"I think that the deaths of Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell, I think the mental illness conversation is something that we all need to get more knowledgeable about and have more compassion about and less judgment, and realize it's a serious disease and treat it as such," Stapp told the Longview News-Journal. 

"I wouldn't say I was close [to Bennington or Cornell], but I definitely had a tremendous amount of respect for both of them and admired their work and felt connected to what their struggles were because my struggles have been the same.”

Bennington, frontman for the rap-rock band Linkin Park, died of an apparent suicide in July, his body found on what would have been Cornell’s birthday. The Soundgarden singer, known for his dark and haunting lyrics, was found dead in a Detroit hotel room two months earlier, after years of struggling with depression and drug use.

Stapp has faced similar—and similarly public—struggles through his years in the spotlight. Near the end of 2014, the Florida native put out a disturbing video claiming he was broke and “under some kind of pretty vicious attack.” In what he would later describe as a “psychotic break,” Stapp threatened to kill then-President Obama, prompting his wife to call 911.

“I had a psychotic break that was brought on by alcohol and drug abuse,” Stapp later told People. “I was hallucinating. I drove around the United States for a month, following an angel that I saw on the hood of my car.”

As he sobered up, Stapp learned he’d been battling misdiagnosed bipolar disorder. “It's no secret that I've struggled and battled with depression," Stapp told the Texas newspaper last week. "And a lot of times when people are suffering from a mental illness, they self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, and I was no different." 

"It's really not in their control," he added. "It's a disease just like cancer. Hopefully, with the string of deaths, it just raises awareness and people aren't so judgmental and make mockery of people who are suffering whether they are celebrities, friends or family members."

If you or someone you know may be at risk for suicide, immediately seek help. You are not alone. Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-TALK (8255). Call 911. Call a friend or family member. Don’t wait to get help. 

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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