By Abigail Morrell
MENTAL HEALTH organisations and fans have praised Yorkshire pop star Zayn Malik for being so open about his struggle with anxiety.
Anxiety Leeds, the peer support group dedicated to helping people suffering from anxiety and panic attacks, feel Bradford-born Zayn speaking out so honestly is nothing but positive.
The organisation’s manager, Chris Osborne said: “It’s positive that a celebrity feels comfortable enough to openly discuss how mental health issues are affecting their work.”
Former One Direction star Zayn pulled out of his Autumn shows in Dubai due to ‘severe anxiety.’
Jess, 19, who runs a Twitter account dedicated to Zayn, which reaches 152,000 followers, said: “I struggle with anxiety, and to see him speak so openly about it is comforting.
“Zayn is someone I’ve been a fan of for years, and to know he struggles with something I’ve fought with kind of puts it into perspective.
“I hope more artists will start to bring attention to this.”
Mental health blogger Shannon Valentine, 20, from Basingstoke believes that Zayn’s celebrity status will show people how common anxiety is, and will help increase public awareness of the condition.
She said: “I feel like people who don’t understand mental illness can be very ignorant without even realising, especially with celebrities. People think they’re invincible.
“I really do feel for Zayn, but equally believe he shouldn’t be arranging shows and appearances until he’s had some sort of help or therapy to overcome the matter.”
Zayn issued the following statement to his fans on his website in September: “I have been working over the last three months to overcome my extreme anxiety around live performances… but I do not feel sufficiently confident to move forward with the planned shows in October.”
In July the singer pulled out of a headline slot at Capital’s Summertime Ball for the same reason, which raised a discussion regarding the relationship between performing and anxiety disorder.
Celebrities including X Factor’s James Arthur, pop singer and actress Selena Gomez and lead singer of Bastille Dan Smith have since spoken out about their own personal struggles with the mental illness.