#CutforZayn trending hashtag is indicative of a larger mental health problem

VANCOUVER – Teens and young people are taking to social media to express their outrage and disappointment over the news Zayn Malik has left One Direction.

However, it seems some fans are taking more extreme measures. The hashtag #cutforzayn started trending worldwide following the news.

Jesse Miller with Mediated Reality says this is not shocking. “We saw the same thing with Justin Bieber a couple of years ago,” he said. “This is attached to fandom and the use of social media and really getting people to talk about what their passion is. Unfortunately it’s taking a turn towards mental health issues that we see in kids cutting.”

Miller said once the announcement was made about Zayn leaving the band, the terminology and hashtag #cutforzayn was mentioned 4,600 times a minute on Twitter. “That should be a focus point for most of us in thinking how much passion these fans have to jump online and share.”

Story continues below advertisement

“Any individual, whether it be a youth or an adult, who’s going through emotional upheaval, who’s going to choose to cut and then broadcast online, that’s very much attached to mental health,” added Miller. “The organizations, locally and nationally, that address these issues have to step in and dialogue where they use their official social media channels to talk to their fan base and group.”

He said if anyone does have a family member or loved one who might be exhibiting this kind of behaviour, whether documenting it online or not, they must get some help.

“We see a bunch of youth across Canada who have a tendency to go on social websites, like Twitter, Instagram, and document their self-harm, but they also get coached online by people saying ‘don’t cut your wrist, cut your leg because your parents never look there,” said Miller.

He said this is a good chance for parents to talk to their kids about managing their emotions and sharing those thoughts and feelings online.