Zayn Malik canceled a huge show. It was a very brave thing to do.

This is how you fight the stigma.

Zayn Malik had a big show lined up earlier this month.

The former One Direction heartthrob was supposed to take the stage at Summertime Ball in the U.K. on June 11, 2016. But it didn't happen.


Photo by Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images.

It was a huge event (especially for teens who are into pop music). Artists Ariana Grande, Nick Jonas, and Will.i.am were among the many A-listers who performed.

Malik's mental health, however, had other plans for the pop star.

The day of the event, Malik — who's only had a small handful of performances promoting his new solo album out earlier this year — posted a candid note to fans on Twitter and Instagram announcing he had to cancel.


"My anxiety that has haunted me throughout the last few months around live performances has gotten the better of me," he wrote, noting he's living with the "worst anxiety of [his] career."

"I know those who suffer [from] anxiety will understand," his message concluded. "And I hope those who don't can empathize with my situation."

Malik is far from alone in the struggle with anxiety.

Nearly 1 in 5 Americans are living with some form of anxiety disorder, making it one of the most prevalent mental health conditions in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

So Malik's honesty could make a real difference to others in the same boat — especially men.

Research suggests men are less likely to seek treatment for their mental health issues than women. There are a few realities that help explain this, from the backward social expectation that boys and men shouldn't express their emotions to the more general stigma applied to those who live with mental health issues.

It's a big deal when famous male stars speak up about what they're going through.

When Wentworth Miller opened up about his chronic struggles with depression and battles with suicidal thoughts, it felt like the whole internet was on his side.

Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Trevor Project.

More recently, actor Dominic Purcell, Miller's co-star on "Prison Break" and "DC's Legends of Tomorrow," encouraged other men to "talk it out," "see a shrink," and "be brave." Because those things worked for him.

Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images.

And Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson certainly deserves a thumbs-up for addressing his history of depression and reiterating to anyone going through tough times that "you're not alone."

Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for MTV.

It doesn't matter if you're a pop star, famous actor, or larger-than-life wrestler. Opening up about your mental health isn't a sign of weakness.

It's the bravest thing you can do.

Need help? Learn more and access care at MentalHealth.gov.

Most Shared
via bfmamatalk / facebook

Where did we go wrong as a society to make women feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public?

No one should feel they have the right to tell a woman when, where, and how she can breastfeed. The stigma should be placed on those who have the nerve to tell a woman feeding her child to "Cover up" or to ask "Where's your modesty?"

Breasts were made to feed babies. Yes, they also have a sexual function but anyone who has the maturity of a sixth grader knows the difference between a sexual act and feeding a child.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Instagram / JLo

The Me Too movement has shed light on just how many actresses have been placed in positions that make them feel uncomfortable. Abuse of power has been all too commonplace. Some actresses have been coerced into doing something that made them uncomfortable because they felt they couldn't say no to the director. And it's not always as flagrant as Louis C.K. masturbating in front of an up-and-coming comedian, or Harvey Weinstein forcing himself on actresses in hotel rooms.

But it's important to remember that you can always firmly put your foot down and say no. While speaking at The Hollywood Reporter's annual Actress Roundtable, Jennifer Lopez opened up about her experiences with a director who behaved inappropriately. Laura Dern, Awkwafina, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong'o, and Renee Zellweger were also at the roundtable.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Life for a shelter dog, even if it's a comfortable shelter administered by the ASPCA with as many amenities as can be afforded, is still not the same as having the comfort and safety of a forever home. Professional violinist Martin Agee knows that and that's why he volunteers himself and his instrument to help.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

Believe
True
Macy's