Jill Janus, lead singer of the heavy/thrash metal band Huntress, died on the 14th of August at the age of 43 after a long battle against mental illness. The band members announced she took her life outside Portland, Oregon, on their official Facebook page with a touching post and message.
She was a founding band member with the guitarist and her mate Blake Meahl, who commented: “Jill Janus and I spent 9 years together creating a home, having a family and building our passion project, Huntress. The devastation of knowing I will never see her again is the most gutting emotion I have ever experienced. I hope you have found the peace that you couldn’t find on this planet”. Her bandmate and drummer Casey Wood added: “I’m in shock and can’t stop crying. […] She was the biggest sweetheart and I hope that her legacy lives on as it should! […] I love you I miss you, and my door is still open for you always. Rest in peace, my sister”.
Jill Janus suffered from the severe mental illness since the age of 13, and she was diagnosed bipolar with schizoaffective disorder when she was 20, which then progressed into schizophrenia and dissociative disorder. She also struggled with suicidal thoughts and lost some of her long-term memory when she suffered from “full-blown mania”. Anyway, Janus always spoke publicly about her struggles, and she had been an advocate for mental health, encouraging fans who were suffering to seek help.
Many are the personalities from the music industry, especially female metal musicians such as Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy), guitarist Nita Strauss and Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil), who paid her a tribute, but the strongest one came from Halestorm’s singer Lzzy Hale. She started the hashtag #raiseyourhorns to raise awareness about mental illness and urge anyone who struggles with mental health issues to talk about it and search for help. In a few hours, the movement gained momentum on social media, both from metal musicians and common people and/or fans, who started sharing important information on how to seek help against mental health struggles for all those who are in need.