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Shawn Mendes Just Stood Up for Mental Health — Here's Why it Matters

This week, Canadian pop music icon Shawn Mendes did something very few artists have had the courage to do: He announced the cancellation of his world tour in order to focus on his mental health.

He made the announcement via Instagram, saying he wasn’t ready to face the increased mental health pressures of going back on tour. It’s a trend experts are seeing more often in Gen Z, who are more open to talking about their mental health than generations before.

The American Psychiatric Association released a report saying teens and young adults are more likely to have received treatment or gone to therapy (37%) compared to Millennials (35%), Gen X’ers (26%), Baby Boomers (22%), and the Silent Generation (15%). The report, “Stress in America: Generation Z” says there are three reasons for the increased use of mental health services:

  • Life has introduced a different variety of stressors, leading to increased psychological concerns and more need for services for mental health.
  • Awareness of mental health issues has grown, so that what once might have been ignored is recognized as a problem and treated as such.
  • Stigma around using mental health services has lessened, making it more likely that Gen Z will identify their own issues and seek help when they feel they have a mental health problem that can be treated.

"Gen Z are far more conscious of mental health issues—and more able to articulate them—than their parents were," explains Dr. Rebecca Rialon Berry, an associate professor at NYU. She also notes Millennials (anyone born 1981 to 1996) tend to also be more open to mental health treatment than previous generations.

Mendes isn't the only celebrity that’s opened up about mental health. In 2018, NBA All-Star DeMar DeRozan divulged his struggle with depression.

"It's one of them things that no matter how indestructible we look like we are, we're all human at the end of the day," said DeRozan.

NBA Champion and Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love also spoke about his panic attacks, anxiety and depression which further opened the conversation about the stigma surrounding mental health. And last year, pop star Justin Bieber spoke about his struggle with success, revealing he needed to work on his mental health like he does his music.

As for Mendes, he says he’ll be making new music, and is looking to tour in the future. “I promise I will be back as soon as I’ve taken the right time to heal. I love you all and thank you all so much for supporting me and sticking by me on this journey.”

Thank you Shawn for speaking out.

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