SLIPKNOT percussionist Shawn "The Clown" Crahan has spoken to NME about the importance of having open conversations normalizing the realities of living with mental health issues.
Crahan's interview was conducted a little over a week after Chester Bennington was found dead at his home in Southern California. A Los Angeles County coroner confirmed that the cause of death was "suicide by hanging." The LINKIN PARK singer, who suffered from depression and substance abuse throughout his life, was said to be good friends with SOUNDGARDEN frontman Chris Cornell, who took his own life in May.
"My friends are dying, and I can't take that any more," Crahan told NME. "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, I'm not in people's minds, but 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 of what's been going on recently.
"To the general public, just remember the people around you. 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 added that Bennington and Cornell's deaths draw specific attention to stigma or lack of awareness around mental health and encouraged men and women to seek out help from professionals.
"What people need to know is that there are beautiful, wonderful people in the world who have empathy and work with the human condition," he said. "They understand what being 'sick' is. It's not a human being's fault to have chemical imbalances. We're just scared. The people who you think are the most solid are often the most hurt. That can be hard to wrap your head around.
"As the world grows and technology grows, it's getting harder to communicate and for kids to socialize. We need to take behavioral health recovery seriously."
Crahan had previously been open about his own struggles with depression after losing both his parents as well as dealing with the passing of SLIPKNOT bassist Paul Gray.
"I'm not afraid to admit it," he said. "My mom died, and then Paul died within a small time. I went to my therapist and she just said, 'You're done,' so I went to become and outpatient and I was just so scared of that word 'inpatient' and residential living, 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest'. You know what, mean? I took my therapist and my wife's advice and I went on an outpatient program and it changed my fucking life — it saved The Clown's life. I was so underwater, drowning in a hole that I created. They told me that I had no time to grieve my dad, then they told me that I had no time to grieve my mom, then they told me that I had no time to grieve Paul."
He added: "I didn't even know that existed, I didn't know I needed a certain amount of time. What the world needs to know is that it's okay to need help."
SLIPKNOT's touring cycle in support of its latest album, ".5: The Gray Chapter", ended in November, with singer Corey Taylor returning to his other band, STONE SOUR, this year.