HALESTORM singer Lzzy Hale spoke to Ireland's Overdrive about her decision to launch a mental health awareness campaign in the wake of the tragic death of HUNTRESS frontwoman Jill Janus. Shortly after Jill's passing, Lzzy posted a picture on social media of herself raising the horns, and encouraged others who had suffered from mental illness to do the same and tag their posts with #RaiseYourHorns. In the days that followed, thousands of rock fans from across the world shared the hashtag and their stories.
"I feel that I inadvertently opened a door, if you like," Lzzy said. "This came right on the heels after the passing of Jill, and I just wanted to do something for our community — music, bands, management, crew, etc. — that I know who talk to me about their own struggles. A lot of people started talking to me about it and I found it so inspiring and now I'm able to talk about my own mental stability, which is a very good feeling and it helps a lot."
She continued: "Mental illness runs in our family, and, in fact, Arejay [Hale, HALESTORM drummer and Lzzy's brother] and I have talked a lot about this, and he started going to therapy just for the peace of mind of being able to talk to someone outside of this business, outside of our circle, someone totally independent that he can open up to. He's, like, 'Sis, you know I'm going to talk to someone and I don't even have the volume of people crying on my shoulder like what you have.' I've always been a kind of mediator with people and tend to carry a lot of emotional connections with other people. It's just so important to talk about your feelings and not hide them away."
Asked if she finds that people think that when you have fame and money, all your problems just disappear, she said: "Yes, there is a total misconception that people who are successful, wealthy and popular don't seem to have any mental illness problems. The truth is your world gets so small, and, for me, I'm just blessed that I have an amazing circle of friends, crew and people around me that are going to tell me if things are not right. It's very easy to lose trust with people in this business, as a lot of people are not really looking out for you as a friend but are trying to get something off you, and that can be a really lonely and heartbreaking situation to be in."
Janus, who was 42 years old, took her own life outside Portland, Oregon after struggling with mental illness her whole life.
In her original social media post, Hale encouraged her fans to "keep searching for your lifeline" and added: "Asking for help doesn't mean you're broken. And if you don't know how to ask for help, that's okay too. Those of us who have a shoulder will let you lean on it! We are all in this life together. For those of you with the ability to lend a hand or and ear, DO IT! We have a responsibility to help each other, 'cuz everything we say, do and touch affects the whole race. We are all connected."
Hale also warned that people must be careful with prescription medications and concluded: "To Jill, my sister of scream, I hope wherever you are, you have found the peace that you couldn't here."
HALESTORM's latest album, "Vicious", was released on July 27 via Atlantic. The disc was recorded last year at Nashville, Tennesse's Rock Falcon recording studio with producer Nick Raskulinecz.