Prioritising Your Mental Health: What Jesy’s Little Mix Departure Teaches Us

Picture from BBC/Modest TV/Zoe McConnell

TW: mental health, body image, online trolling

Yesterday evening the British pop scene changed forever. After nine successful years together, Little Mix made the devastating announcement that Jesy Nelson is formally leaving the band to focus on her mental health.

A copy of Jesy’s official statement

Little Mix were first formed on The X Factor in 2011, and since then they have achieved some amazing things. The four girls have released six studio albums, completed six headline tours, created their own talent competition and accumulated an extremely loyal fanbase. Little Mix have been through so much together so — as you can imagine — the news of Jesy’s departure came as quite a shock.

However, Jesy’s decision to step away from the group can actually teach us some important lessons about putting your mental health first.

1. It’s Ok To Be Selfish

I’m sure that the last thing that Little Mix wanted when they posted this announcement was to upset their fans, but sometimes you just have to be a little bit selfish. In her own personal statement, Jesy expressed that she finds “the constant pressure of being in a girl group and living up to expectations very hard.” Some people might look at Jesy and think that she has the perfect life, however her feelings and experiences are completely valid. She shouldn’t have to keep exposing herself to an environment that was clearly making her unhappy purely for the benefit of others. In leaving Little Mix, Jesy put herself first and taught us all that doing this is ok! She will soon reap the rewards for this.

2. Honesty Is The Best Policy

Jesy from Little Mix has always been an advocate for mental health and has never shied away from sharing her own experiences and struggles. Right from the start of her X Factor journey, Jesy was a victim of cyber-bullying and she struggled immensely with body image. In 2019, Jesy released a documentary with BBC Three, titled Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out. The harrowing documentary looks at Jesy’s experiences in dealing with bullies and online trolls, as well as focusing on the effects that such experiences have had on her professional and personal life. The documentary helped so many viewers in sharing their experiences with mental health struggles, and it also worked to educate people about the effects that their words can have on others. It is always a good idea to try and talk about your feelings. Jesy having the courage to do this through her documentary and through her recent statement teaches us that you should always tell the truth, even if the truth might hurt.

Trailer for Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out

3. People Will Always Be There To Support You

Prioritising, and even just openly discussing, your mental health can feel like an alienating and scary thought. However, people will always be there to support you. In her documentary, Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out, Jesy states that she often felt like “the whole world hated me.” However, the outpouring of support that Jesy has received since announcing her departure from Little Mix suggests otherwise. Floods of fans and celebrities have taken to Twitter and Instagram to wish Jesy well in this new chapter in her life. You don’t need to be a well loved celebrity to experience this either. No matter how alone you feel, people will always be there to support and help you through your hardest times.

Some mental health resources for those in need of someone to speak to

I admire Jesy’s bravery and complete transparency in her decision to leave Little Mix. She is an amazing role model who can teach us so much about the importance of prioritising our mental health, no matter how hard doing so may seem.

Picture from Instagram/Jesy Nelson/@jesynelson

In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In America, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1–800–273–8255. Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

19 year old Journalism and English Literature student with lots of thoughts to share