Slipknot’s The Clown on the importance of discussing mental health after the death of Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell

"The people who you think are the most solid are often the most hurt"

Slipknot‘s Shawn ‘The Clown’ Crahan has spoken out about the importance of breaking the stigma that surrounds discussing mental health, in the wake of Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell taking their own lives.

The tragic loss of the Linkin Park and Soundgarden frontmen has shook the world in 2017. Now, songwriter, producer, director and Slipknot percussionist Crahan has urged others to be open and there for one another when it comes to depression.

“My friends are dying, and I can’t take that any more,” Clown 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.”

Linkin Park's Chester Bennington
Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington

Crahan added that the help and care on offer to deal with mental health issues is actually far better than most people might expect – and that there’s no need for the “a stigma against doctors, therapists and hospitals”.

“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 continued. “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 socialise. We need to take behavioural health recovery seriously.”

Soundgarden's Chris Cornell
Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell


Speaking from a place of experience, Crahan has been very vocal and open about his own struggles with depression in the wake of the death of his parents, and that of Slipknot bassist Paul Gray. In taking the brave step to speak out and seek help, Crahan received the essential help that ‘saved his life’.

“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 programme 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.

“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 OK to need help.”

Slipknot's Corey Taylor and Shawn 'The Clown' Crahan
Slipknot’s Corey Taylor and Shawn ‘The Clown’ Crahan

Concluding, Clown added that mental health issues should be considered and treated as any other physical injury or affliction.

“We all have flaws,” he told NME. “Some people have a astigmatism in their eyes, some people have ulcers, this is the same thing. You could have anxiety, depression, OCD, ADD, paranoia, anything. It’s mental health – it’s not a hard thing to wrap your head around. Don’t be scared. These physical and mental attributes can be helped by wonderful people who dedicate their lives to helping others.

“People need to know that it’s OK to seek help. Sometimes in depression it’s hard to feel like you’re not alone – but you’re not.”

Slipknot’s new live movie and documentary Day of The Gusano will be released in select cinemas on September 6 for ‘one night only’. Details of the screenings – including the 100 cinemas in the UK which will show the film – can be found here, with tickets for the European screenings on sale now.

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