There’s a large stigma against mental illness around the world, even though around 1 in 4 people will deal with just anxiety–a common mental illness–at some point. When someone famous or respected comes out and speaks about their struggle with mental illness, it helps shrink that stigma just a little, but every bit counts. Recently, The Guardian reported on why Zayn Malik–former member of One Direction–chose to cancel his gig at the Capital Summertime Ball in England: anxiety issues. This helps bring awareness to the issue of teenage anxiety because a large majority of his fans are teens.
Experiencing the worst anxiety of his career
When explaining why he decided to cancel his gig, he opened with his struggle with anxiety when performing:
“Unfortunately, my anxiety that has haunted me throughout the last few months around live performances has gotten the better of me…With the magnitude of the event, I have suffered the worst anxiety of my career.”
And he’s not the first. Many performers and actors deal with anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. To name a few celebrities that deal with anxiety: Adele, Lena Dunham, Kristen Bell, Chris Evans, and John Mayer. These are only a few of the ones that have admitted to their struggles with mental issues, but many more most likely exist but are fearful to open up about it because of the harmful stigma attached to mental illnesses.
How this affects teenage anxiety
Specifically, anxiety usually pops up around the adolescent years, which makes it a critical time to recognize it and treat it before it runs out of control; this doesn’t often happen. Teenage anxiety isn’t a rare occurrence, as many as 1 in 4 teens will deal with teenage anxiety, but are usually afraid to open up about it–and parents are often afraid to listen. This is all due to the stigma. If there was no stigma, there would be no issue surrounding seeking out help when symptoms of anxiety begin to appear.
Celebrities like Zayn Malik help take apart that stigma. Many people idolize Zayn, which makes him influential in whether a teen may come forward about struggling or not. Though it may just encourage a few to step forward, that’s a few more than before.