Talinda Bennington on 320 Changes Direction, Strange 80s Benefit Concert & Suicide Prevention

 Talinda Bennington
Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

Talinda Bennington attends The Wonder of Women Summit at UCLA on May 2, 2018 in Los Angeles.  

An all-star roster of rockers -- from the rosters of No Doubt, Fall Out Boy, Slayer, Slipknot, Stone Sour, Sum 41, Anthrax, *NSYNC, the Offspring, Steel Panther, Limp Bizkit and more -- will be playing songs from the past for the Strange 80s 2 concert on Oct. 12 at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles. And they'll be doing it for a good cause.

Show organizers at Charity Bomb have partnered with 320 Changes Direction, a partnership between the late Chester Bennington's widow Talinda Bennington and the Campaign to Change Direction, to help change perceptions of mental illness and offer resources to those in need. The concert takes place in conjunction with the start of Mental Health Awareness Week.

"Looking back over the past year I can see there's been a shift in the dialogue surrounding mental health," Bennington tells Billboard. "I see a shift in people I encounter on a day to day basis with their stories of how the campaign's kind of opened them up, created a space for them to seek help or offer support. There are a lot of things happening to make it OK to talk about it. I'm just sad we had to endure the loss of so many to get to this point."

Chester Bennington, who acknowledged struggling with depression and substance abuse, died by suicide on July 20, 2017 at his home in Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.

Talinda Bennington says that taking action has been crucial to helping her come to terms with her husband's death. "Where I'm at now is more of a place of comfort and understand and clarity, whereas in the beginning I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. Now I'm here," explains Bennington, who was joined by her husband's Linkin Park co-frontman Mike Shinoda in a recent PSA for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. "I'm doing the same thing, really, but I have a year to look back and see how far we've come and how fare the campaign has reached. And events like Strange 80s help us reach even more people, so it was incredibly generous for them to include us like they have."

Gary Holt of Slayer and Exodus only met Bennington once, and briefly. But he's happy to do what he can for the cause at Strange 80s 2. "The last couple of years have been horrible for rock 'n' roll," says Holt, who will be playing on renditions Journey's "Separate Ways," Bryan Adams' "Summer of '69," Michael Jackson's "Beat It" and Metallica's "Enter Sandman." "We've had so many horrible, tragic losses, and mental health is quite often overlooked -- especially in rock 'n' roll, where reaching out for help is a sign of weakness. But it's something people need to not be ashamed to do. So anything we can do to help raise money and awareness is fine by me."

More information the 320 Changes Direction campaign can be found at their website. 


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