Zayn Malik’s announcement that he is quitting boy band One Direction has prompted a large and unsettling amount of teenage girls to tweet they’ll kill themselves or tweets about “cutting” themselves over the move.
It’s likely that many are merely joking or trolling, but it’s not a great sign nonetheless. A photo that was being shared on Twitter showed a bloody “I love Zayn” message carved in a person’s arm (no, we won’t share the photo here, and it’s also unclear if the picture is real or just a hoax). Some users offered suicide hotline numbers (here’s a common suicide prevention hotline).
I’ll leave this here for anyone who is thinking about suicide because of Zayn leaving (or in general) Stay strong pic.twitter.com/MTQVsCscyS
— WE LOVE YOU, ZAYN (@Biebernoskians) March 25, 2015
I want to commit suicide bc a world without zayn is not worth living
— therese (@maliklipbites) March 25, 2015
ZAYN MALIK LEFT ONE DIRECTION I AM 1 STEP CLOSER TO SUICIDE
— Lindsay (@Lindz_rocket) March 25, 2015
is this what it feels like to get dumped?did zayn malik just break up with me
— des (@helloimdesiree) March 25, 2015
According to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, suicide is a major problem among teens–but it’s easily preventable.
The government agency says on its website:
Q: How common is suicide in children and teens?
A: In 2009, suicide was the third leading cause of death for young people ages 15–24. In this age group, suicide accounted for 14.4 percent of all deaths in 2009.
While these numbers may make suicide seem common, it is important to realize that suicide and suicidal behavior are not healthy or typical responses to stress.
Q: What are some of the risk factors for suicide?
A: Risk factors vary with age, gender, or ethnic group. They may occur in combination or change over time. Some important risk factors are:
Depression and other mental disorders
Substance-abuse disorder (often in combination with other mental disorders)
Prior suicide attempt
Family history of suicide
Family violence including physical or sexual abuse
Firearms in the home
Exposure to suicidal behavior of others, such as family members or peers
However, it is important to note that many people who have these risk factors are not suicidal.
After Malik announced he is quitting the group, it was a momentous moment on Twitter, statistically speaking.
According to ABC’s social media editor Micah Grimes, the number of tweets in first 12 hours after he quit about Zayn totaled 8,308,000. There were 3,392,000 One Direction tweets, 2,089,000 tweets with @zaynmalik, and 431,000 about @onedirection.
On Wednesday, One Direction confirmed that Malik is quitting the group amid the band’s world tour.
Malik said in a Facebook statement: “My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined. But, after five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band. I’d like to apologise to the fans if I’ve let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart. I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight. I know I have four friends for life in Louis, Liam, Harry and Niall. I know they will continue to be the best band in the world.”
One Direction also wrote that it is” really sad to see Zayn go, but we totally respect his decision and send him all our love for the future. The past five years have been beyond amazing, we’ve gone through so much together, so we will always be friends. The four of us will now continue. We’re looking forward to recording the new album and seeing all the fans on the next stage of the world tour.”