Chris Cornell’s daughter Lily discusses mental health IGTV series ‘Mind Wide Open’

"He was someone who really understood and shared and validated my mental health issues"

Chris Cornell’s daughter Lily Cornell Silver has opened up about her ongoing mental health struggles and desire to start Mind Wide Open, in a recent interview.

Mind Wide Open is a new video series that sees Silver discuss mental health with medical professionals, celebrities and musicians. The idea came about while Silver was in a Coronavirus-related lockdown towards the end of April, realising how little resources existed to help people deal with living through a pandemic.

“I was struggling since it was around the anniversary of my dad passing, and he was someone who really understood and shared and validated my mental health issues,” she told Rolling Stone. “I launched the series in his honour because I knew that he would be proud of my vulnerability.”

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The IGTV series launched on July 20 – what would have been her father’s 56th birthday – with Dr. Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, founder of The Trauma Stewardship Institute and author of several books on trauma. At the start of the episode, Silver says “my intention for this series is to destigmatize mental health and to normalize having open discussion about mental health.”

Other episodes have since featured Dr. Marc Brackett, founder of the Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence, and TikTok star Sir Carter.

According to Silver, she and her father openly talked about mental health. Cornell would even offer tools of support, like breathing exercises and reaching out to other people.

“I’ve had anxiety since I was a little kid and he was really validating and reassuring for me in that way. When I was like 12 or something, he was like, ‘when I was 12, I would be laying awake in bed at night and my heart would be pounding, it felt like I was going to have a heart attack.’ He would always say, ‘You come by [your anxiety] honestly, and it’s something that I’ve struggled with my whole life.’ And it was just that reassurance, like ‘You’re gonna be OK.'”

Silver also talked about how having transparent and honest conversations, as she does in her interviews, are her own form of healing. Despite “losing someone very traumatically, and struggling with my own suicidal ideation”, she continues to find ways to have her mind wide open.

“Something he used to say to me that would crack me up was, ‘stupid people don’t have anxiety. The fact that you’re worrying about what the outcome is going to be and thinking what every possible option could be and worrying about all the ways that things could go wrong, it’s because you’re very smart and because your brain works really fast.

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“And even though it sucks, and it can feel like a total burden, you’ll harness it and you’ll figure out how to use it in ways that are helpful to you and others.’ So it was something that he provided me comfort around, for sure.”

The full interview with Lily Cornell Silver can be found on Rolling StoneNew episodes of Mind Open Wide are released every Monday morning on her Instagram page.

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