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

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.

via Travis Akers / Twitter

A tweet thread by Travis Akers, a Navy Lieutenant with 17 years of service, is going viral because it shows just how sweet children can be and also points to an overlooked issue facing military families.

In the early morning of April 12, Akers tweeted a photo of himself and his seven-year-old son Tanner who he affectionately calls "Munchie." Akers was moved because his son set his alarm clock so he could get up early enough to hand him a pocket full of Legos before work.

Tanner wanted to be sure his father had something to play with at the Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Florida. "This was my daily morning trip to base, departing my house at six am for work," Akers told Upworthy.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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