Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, a nonprofit providing mental health, substance abuse and suicide prevention services for over 75 years that organizes the "Erasing The Stigma" campaign and awards, honored Talinda Bennington with this year's Mental Health Ambassador Award. Bennington partnered with the Campaign To Change Direction to create 320 Changes Direction, to help families support those dealing with mental health struggles. Bennington's husband, LINKIN PARK's Chester Bennington, died by suicide in 2017.
In a video message accepting the award, Talinda said (see below): "I'm so honored to be this year's recipient of the 2020 'Mental Health Ambassador Award' from the Didi Hirsch Center. Thank you so much for this award.
"In July of 2017, I lost my husband, the father of my children, Chester Bennington, to suicide. After [his death], I quickly realized that there was a lot of stigma surrounding suicide and mental health. And I co-founded 320 Changes Direction in his name.
"I had the privilege to work with the Didi Hirsch Center in many different capacaties — by hosting the 5K run as well as doing an Instagram takeover.
"I could not be more proud of the Didi Hirsch organization and all of the opportunities, resources and support groups that they provide for families in need, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.
"Again, thank you very much."
The 24th annual "Erasing The Stigma" award ceremony had to be held virtually this year due to the coronavirus crisis.
Talinda Bennington and Kevin Lyman will bring 320 Festival Online next month. In partnership with KNEKT.TV, people from all around the world can tune in on Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and the KNEKT.TV network on Roku and Apple TV to join the conversation through educational sessions, musical performances, workshops and more May 8 - 10, 2020. The virtual event is free and open for all to join and participate. RSVPs for the 320 Festival are now open at this location.
This past January, Talinda married Los Angeles County firefighter Michael Friedman. The ceremony took place at the Turtle Bay Resort in Kahuku, Hawaii.
Chester was found dead on July 20, 2017 — on what would have been the 53rd birthday of his late friend and fellow rocker, SOUNDGARDEN frontman Chris Cornell.
After Cornell died in May 2017 as a result of suicide by hanging himself inside his Detroit hotel room, Chester wrote a letter thanking him for inspiring him and hoping he would find peace in "the next life."
Chester married Talinda shortly after his divorce from his first wife, Samantha Marie Olit.
In the first few months since her husband's death, Talinda had used the hashtags #FuckDepression and #MakeChesterProud to grow an online community that is there to support people with depression, and people who have been impacted by a loved one's depression or suicide.
Photo courtesy of "Alive & Running"