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Jesy Nelson leaves Little Mix to focus on her mental health | How to help someone who is (mentally) struggling

“After an amazing 9 years together Jesy has made the decision to leave Little Mix. This is an incredibly sad time for all of us but we are fully supportive of Jesy. We love her very much and agree that it is so important that she does what is right for her mental health and well-being“, with these words Little Mix announced on Twitter that Jesy Nelson is leaving the girl group. I’ve been a fan of them since they won the X Factor in 2011 and if I’m honest, I fully respect Jesy’s decision. If that’s what it takes for her to be happy again, I’ll support her for 100%.

Little Mix Annouces 'Little Mix: LM5 – The Tour Film' | Fangirlish
 © fangirlish.com

The reason behind why Jesy leaves Little Mix is a topic a lot of people still don’t talk about enough. Depression, anxiety, mental health, online bullying… We need to create more awareness, spread more love and most of all, try to remember that everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. In this blog post I want to highlight the importance of each others well being / mental health. And how you can help someone who might be mentally struggling.

Jesy’s story

We can all feel a little bit down sometimes because life can be tough. When things aren’t quite going your way, or you have a lot of worry on your shoulders, it’s normal to feel blue. But usually, given a bit of time, we’ll start to feel alright again and bounce back. If someone’s low mood continues for a long time though, or is so severe that it starts to get in the way of them living a normal life, we can say it is a ‘depression’. Jesy reveals that she was most depressed when she was being bullied online for the way that she looks, but people can become depressed for all sorts of reasons.

Jesy candidly spoke of her brave battle with her mental health and the horrifying trolling she had received after starring on The X Factor. It was also the early days of social media morphing into the beast it is today. Even as Little Mix progressed through the weekly knockout stages on the tv show, Nelson was receiving comments and messages from online trolls who criticised her weight and face, and told her, in a variety of creatively cruel ways, that she did not deserve to live. She was barely 20 years old. “It became the worst time of my life,” Jesy says. “I wasn’t just known as one of the singers in Little Mix, I was known as ‘the fat, ugly one’.”

Jesy Nelson's Odd One Out returns to BBC One at 10.35pm tonight – here's  all you need to know
 © bbc.co.uk

In September 2019, Jesy released a documentary about her journey of rehabilitation as the bullying had an enormous impact on her self-image. “When I was younger, we never ever spoke about depression,” says Jesy, “and I think it’s so good and so important now that we are talking more about it.

Nelson continued: “I thought, ‘I could be the skinniest girl in the world, and this is never going to go away’. That was the point I got severely depressed.” It was also at that point, that Nelson attempted to take her own life. “I was sat in bed crying, thinking, ‘This is never going to go, I’m going to feel sad for the rest of my life, so what is the point in being here?’,”

I wish now more than ever, that I could talk to every single person who ever bullied her or made her feel bad about herself. Because I would tell them that they’re responsible. That they destroyed the life of a young girl who was living her dream. And that the only choice she had left, was to leave it all behind for her own well-being. Little Mix should’ve been the best time of her life. Instead, it has shattered her down. The least thing Jesy deserves. The world can be such a dark place. I’m incredibly sad about her leaving Little Mix but it makes me even more sad that it was her last option of finding happiness again. It literally breaks my heart. And I can do nothing about it, apart from supporting her decision.

How to help someone who’s struggling

The first step, as Jesy says, is to talk about it. In fact, counselling is often prescribed as part of the treatment for depression. She found that talking really helped her when she felt low, as she explains: “If you just keep it in and don’t talk to anyone about it, you’re just gonna make yourself worse. Suffering in silence doesn’t help at all.”

It’s becoming much more common to speak openly about mental health, and countless high-profile celebrities have started to open up and share their experiences. Everyone experiences low moods from time to time, even pop stars, so don’t shy away from the conversation – talking to others about what you’re going through can be really useful.

Seeing someone you love going through a spell of poor mental health is tough and it can be difficult to know what to do. Is there anything you can do to help them? Of course! I’ve made a list of 5 things you can do to help someone who is struggling:

1. Learn about managing anxiety and depression
You can’t support someone if you do not know what they are going through. The first step is to learn as much as you can regarding, anxiety and depression. There are many books and information that will educate you on how to deal with fear and anxiety. You can also go to a local support group to talk with others who are struggling so you can get some insights on how to help your friend or family member.

2. Keep inviting them
Someone might start to refuse invites when they become down, for various reasons. However, when some people stop asking, they can think it means they are no longer liked. So being invited out, (even if your friend already wants to refuse), helps people to realise their friends still want them in their life.

3. Use observations about their behavior to explain why you’re worried
During your conversation, gently pointing out observations about your loved one’s behavior rather than outright saying something like, “I think you have depression.” is recommended. Although there’s nothing wrong with having depression, diagnosing and labeling someone isn’t your job. Instead, mention whatever it is that you’ve noticed—it seems like they are seeing friends less often, drinking way more, skipping out on a hobby they used to love, or other possible signs of anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues. Then ask, “What do you think that’s about?”

4. Don’t give up
A person with a mental health condition benefits enormously from having social support. Remind your family member or friend that you’re there to help and you’re not giving up. When setbacks occur with one treatment strategy, look for alternative strategies. Try something new, and encourage your family member not to give up. As Lord Bryon once said: “Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.” Try to stay positive. It will get better.

5. Don’t force them to talk about it
Although it’s amazing to make yourself available to listen to someone who is struggling, be aware that they might not want to talk about it all the time. Sometimes all someone needs is some time with friends to just forget about all of it and have a genuine good time. Like Jesy said, if they’re ready to talk about it, they will share their story.

I genuinely hope that Jesy Nelson leaving Little Mix will be an eye-opener for all of us. It’s about time we start to accept that everyone is different and that being different makes us who we are. Jesy gives up her biggest dream to escape the life she is living today. Please be more kind. Treat people with kindness and remember: “It’s okay to be less than perfect. Be yourself.”

Lots of love,
Sofie

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