Lessons For Us All After Chris Cornell's Death

Ask MORE than 'are you ok?'

19 May 2017

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The shock over the death of singer Chris Cornell is barely sinking in for fans - perhaps because it was so unexpected.

While he'd been open in the past about battles with depression and substance abuse, his wife reportedly says he didn't seem down or suicidal before taking his life in a Detroit hotel bathroom, on Wednesday night local time.  It was just hours after he'd performed a Soundgarden show.

Clinical psychologist Andrew Fuller says it's common for people battling demons to try to cover up their feelings.  

"They have a sense of bravado, they feel like they're letting people down if they really express how they're feeling, so they put up a good cover story," he says.

"And it's only when somebody says what's going on for you? Things seem a bit strange.. that then crumbles usually and they'll start to talk."

Andrew says it's important to ask more than just "are you okay", because people can easily just answer "yep." Make a point of asking "What's going on with you?"

And with many of our greatest rock stars lost to the tragedy of suicide, Andrew admits there is a common thread.

"The great talent and skill of these people is they're sensitive enough to create great art, or great music, or great writing. And that sensitivity has its downside."

For help with depression and suicide prevention:

Visit the Lifeline website, or call Lifeline on 13 11 14

You can also visit Beyond Blue's website, which includes an online chat service from 3pm til midnight.  Or call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

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