If you're active on social media, you probably love posting about the best parts of your life: your BFF's epic birthday party, the day you graduated, a romantic appreciation post for your SO. It can be much harder to share the not-so-great moments online when you're struggling with a difficult situation or just feeling really down, which is why it was so refreshing to see Jessie J's emotional Instagram video about mental health, in which she encouraged her fans to never apologize for their feelings, but to instead try to find ways to process those emotions. It's not easy to share these tough moments, especially when there are literally thousands of people watching, but I, and so many of Jessie J's fans, are glad that she did.
In the video, which was originally part of an Instagram Live stream, the singer can be seen playing a somber song on the piano. The moment was very down to earth: She didn't appear to be wearing makeup, and she was dressed in a comfy sweatshirt. As Jessie sang, she began to get choked up, and at one point, she turned to look into the camera and simply said, "Music, man."
Although Jessie never explained who she was singing to or about, or what specifically made her feel so emotional at the time, lines like “I know you’re watching / Somewhere in the sky / I look over your children / ’Cause I know you would’ve looked over mine" suggest that the moment was deeply personal for her.
"I’m not posting this for sympathy. Im posting this for anyone who needs to see it (I needed it)," the 30-year-old singer wrote in the caption. She described feeling a little "off" that day, and she wrote that she'd returned to the piano after avoiding it for awhile because she knew it might stir up some uncomfortable emotions. "I’m making it up and feeling my real feelings. I went live as I wanted to share with you guys the moment. I didn’t know I would cry," she wrote.
In posting a vulnerable video like this, Jessie had a message for her followers:
It’s important to be open that we are not always done up and feeling 100. All of us have our days. Yesterday was one of my weird emotional days. In a time and a world (especially the social world) where sadly vulnerability is often seen as weakness where the younger generation are almost being taught to hide their real feelings behind a perfected edited image.
Instead of pushing your feelings away and hoping they disappear, she urged anyone who might be struggling emotionally to "stand with it, process it and learn from it. Find YOUR happiness." Being open about the moments when you feel sad is an important part of Jessie J's message. Rather than apologizing if you start crying, she encouraged anyone reading to really let their emotions out. "Please do not suffer in silence," Jessie wrote. "Life is way too short and ALWAYS GETS BETTER."
Playing the piano and singing might be an effective emotional outlet for Jessie, but for someone else, she pointed out in her post, it might be different. "Draw. Sing. Paint. Walk. Write. Drive. Work out. Be still. Whatever it is that let’s you understand and process your real emotions do it," she wrote.
Jessie J is no stranger to sharing her emotional struggles on social media. In January, she posted a tweet explaining that she needed to take a break from social media for a while to take care of herself. Only four days earlier, she'd shared the news of the death of her bodyguard, who she referred to as family.
The singer has also been open with the public about dealing with infertility. Per E! News, during a concert at Royal Albert Hall back in November 2018, Jessie shared the news that her doctor had given her and told the crowd, "It can’t become something that defines us but I wanted to write this song for myself in my moment of pain and sadness but also to give myself joy, to give other people something that they can listen to in that moment when it gets really hard." She went on to share words of encouragement, saying, "Please know you’re not alone in your pain and I’m thinking of you when I sing this song."
If Jessie J's message has resonated with you and you're looking for a chance to open up to a professional, here are a couple of helpful resources: For one, if you don't have health insurance, The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has a tool for finding a federally funded health center in your area, which can offer services that you can pay for based on your income/what you can afford. If you are insured, check for therapists in your network through your insurance provider, or browse the American Psychological Association's search tool. If you're looking for support from therapists of color or who identify as queer or trans, the National Queer & Trans Therapists of Color Network, the Psychotherapist Association for Gender & Sexual Diversity directory, and the Therapy for Black Girls directory can help you find local professionals.
If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI(6264). For confidential treatment referrals, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, or call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357). In an emergency, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or call 911.