Health

People React to Stars Leaving Shows Because of Mental Health Issues

September 6th 2016

By:
Laura Donovan

Nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population has a mental illness, and a number of celebrities know the struggle all too well, including Fifth Harmony singer Camila Cabello and solo artist/ex-One Direction member Zayn Malik. Cabello recently left a concert early, blaming anxiety, and Malik canceled his upcoming show in Dubai for the same issue.

"I have been working over the last three months to overcome my extreme anxiety around major live solo performances," Malik wrote in a note for fans on the Dubai venue website. "I feel I am making progress, but I have today acknowledged that I do not feel sufficiently confident to move forward with the planned show in Dubai in October."

Malik went public about his anxiety earlier this summer in a detailed tweet, suggesting that the pressure of doing big shows contributed to this problem:

For her part, Cabello revealed in a Snapchat post over the weekend that she took off during Fifth Harmony's St. Louis performance on Friday because of anxiety:

Cabello's anxiety started last year, she told Billboard in May:

"I was having terrible anxiety, nonstop. My heart would beat really fast the whole day. Two hours after I woke up, I'd need a nap, because my body was so hyperactive. It was so eff — sorry, but it was so f--ed up."

Detractors have trivialized and questioned the struggles of these two artists:

But supporters slammed the hateful comments and showered the artists with praise for attending to their mental health issues.

Mental health issues continue to be highly stigmatized in our culture:

Malik's and Cabello's actions are part of a move by musicians to open up about their mental illness struggles.

Several years ago, singer Demi Lovato left the Jonas Brothers tour to enter rehab for cutting and eating disorders. She is currently a mental health advocate who talks about living with bipolar disorder.

More recently, Selena Gomez announced that she is taking time off work to deal with her anxiety and depression, both of which coincided with her struggle to deal with lupus, according to the singer.

ATTN: is in no position to explain why more musicians are dealing with their mental health, but it's likely that the responsibility of touring different cities and even the world takes a toll. In 2015, Scott Cohen, the head of the department of tourism and events in the University of Surrey's School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, published a paper for the university about the potential health consequences of too much business travel.

"The disruption of the circadian rhythm from jet lag affects mood, judgment, and concentration for up to six days," Cohen said last year, according to Fast Company.

What show cancelations could mean for the financial well-being of musicians.

Touring is a huge money-making opportunity for popular artists and musicians, and canceling shows can mean significant losses for performers. Tours are important more than ever because of the changing way people consume music, with more listeners turning to streaming services and buying one-off songs instead of entire albums, according to The Telegraph. One Direction, Malik's former band, benefits from concerts by selling merchandise and more, The Telegraph reported:

"Touring has long been the most lucrative way of making money for the big stadium acts, such as the Rolling Stones and Elton John. Now the global recession is over, ticket prices are on the up, and new acts, such as One Direction, are cashing in. All of these events are an opportunity to sell merchandise and push the brand. The days of a Rolling Stone baseball cap are over. Taylor Swift has three different perfumes to her name; Rita Ora, who has recorded just one album, has polka dot shorts, necklaces and an entire range of Rimmel London nail varnish in her stable of merchandise."

Touring is crucial for many artists because making music alone won't turn a huge profit, Peter Mensch, who manages the band Metallica, told BBC Radio's Today program last year. "The paying-for-music horse has bolted," Mensch said, as reported by Business Insider. "Money from touring is the way to make money now. Record sales now are about a 10th of tour income, whereas before, you could make enough money from the music to not need to tour."