It was Saturday afternoon (September 6th 2014), and I sat in the extremely crowded Atlanta, GA CNN Center having lunch with my mentee during the 90 minute break from Oprah’s Life You Want Tour. I checked my iPhone briefly, and a text message from my best friend flashed on my iPhone screen:
“Another black girl committed suicide, look up Simone Battle. SMH.”
My heart sank, and I too was shaking my head (SMH). “Not another one [young African American suicide victim],” I thought. I was in the midst of such an uplifting, empowering and inspirational experience seeing Oprah and her “trailblazers” (Deepak Chopra, Rob Bell, Elizabeth Gilbert and Iyanla Vanzant), and a young black girl just like me had experienced hopelessness, dejection, and depression, and took her own life.
Upon Googling Simone Battle, the all too familiar story shown through; this promising young black woman had a million and one amazing things happening in her life, but secretly she was struggling, and decided to ending her own suffering by taking her own life.
Battle was found Friday morning (September 5th, 2014) by her father hanging from a rod in her closet, her boyfriend reported seeing her alive only hours prior at her apartment in West Hollywood. Simone Battle was 25 years young, and was a member of the newly formed female singing group G.R.L. Battle passionate about singing, auditioned for X-Factor in 2011, making it to the Top 17 before being eliminated. Following X-Factor she joined G.R.L., formed by Nicole Scherzinger as a revamped “fresh-faced” Pussycat Dolls group. Battle and her group-mates recently were featured on Pitbull’s “Wild Wild Love” and their debut single “Ugly Heart” peaked at number two on Australian charts.
Seemly Battle was on the verge of an upcoming and promising signing career, but sadly this was cut very short. Those close to Battle including her father have openly indicated that they had no idea she was “suffering”. But again as I have emphasized in a previous post focusing on the passing of Karyn Washington, most likely Battle did show signs and symptoms that she was struggling, suffering, and potentially suicidal. More than likely those close to her were not aware of the signs, and in effect were unable to help Battle when she needed it the most. I don’t mean at all to sound as if I place any blame on those close to Battle, however I do emphasize that ALL [people] should be more educated on the warning signs and symptoms one may show when experiencing mental health difficulties.
I echoed this in my post on the passing of Lee Thompson Young, Karyn Washington, and Yusuf Neville, and I sadly echo is again, this desperately needs to the last straw for us as society, specifically the African American community to give mental health and mental illness the attention these topics deserve to ensure we do not continue to lose too many of our young promising and budding angels like Simone Battle.
In the text message words of my best friend, “another black girl committed suicide…SMH”.
To end on a positive note, because although it’s difficult to find the light in such a tragedy, a powerful and appropriate quote I took note of from Oprah this weekend:
“No matter how dark it get, the sun will always rise.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health difficulties and/or is experiencing suicidal thoughts and talk please contact:
UPDATE: Today further reports confirmed that Battle’s father and several other sources close to her confirmed that she had been stressed and upset recently due to financial issues (specifics not provided) and fear that her career was not going as successfully as she hoped.
This update and tid-bit of further information in regard to stressors that contributed to her untimely death still do not change the dialogue. Still those closest to her were not equipped and most likely not educated on mental health and mental health difficulties enough to recognize the suicidal implications of her thoughts, words, and action to understand this was a cry for help.
To many people’s surprise, suicidal thoughts, words, and actions are not always displayed as someone standing on the ledge of a 20 floor building threatening to jump. Potential suicide can be as small as someone telling you they love you in a strange way, talking about some worry or stress in their life in a dejected manner and/or seeming completely detached or feeling hopeless. TAKE THESE WARNING SIGNS seriously! Become educated on mental health and mental health difficulties to ensure you are equipped to help yourself or a loved one when necessary.