Lilly Singh announces she's taking a break from YouTube

Lilly Singh, the Canadian YouTuber who goes by the name Superwoman, says she's taking a break from posting to focus on her mental health.

Canadian creator with over 14 million subscribers pauses to focus on her health

Lilly Singh, seen at the iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards in Toronto in 2017, says she's 'mentally, physically and emotionally and spiritually exhausted.' (Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)

Lilly Singh says she doesn't understand YouTube and is taking a break to focus on her mental health.

The announcement from the Scarborough, Ont.-born YouTuber, who rose to fame with a series of music videos and comedy skits, came in a video posted Tuesday.

Singh who also goes by the nickname Superwoman and encourages her followers to "be a bawse" posted a video titled I'll see you soon.... In it, she says she's "mentally, physically and emotionally and spiritually exhausted."

Singh is just the latest in a string of YouTube creators who have voluntarily stepped away from the platform, talking about dealing with burnout.

Canadian Elle Mills posted her own video Burnt Out At 19 in May in which she talked about battling depression even as her subscriber count grew.

In her video, Singh referred to vloggers Alisha Marie and Grace Helbig as creators who have prioritized their mental health and recently taken breaks.

Singh is No. 8 on the Forbes list of top-earning YouTube stars. (Rick Matharu/Canadian Press)

While Singh says her decision is "in no way a reflection of how I feel about the platform," she did speak about her frustrations, describing YouTube as a place where "creators believe that we have to pump out content consistently even at the cost of our life and our health and our mental health and our happiness."

Singh also says she "could be mentally healthier," adding there are issues she needs to address that she can't when she's constantly creating content. 

Singh has spoken about her struggles with mental health before and talked about falling into a severe depression during her third year of university. 

In fact, Singh credited YouTube for helping her to recover and find a way to share her brand of positivity.

But in the new video, Singh also shares her frustrations with the platform, one she says she no longer understands.

It makes creators believe that we have to pump out content consistently even at the cost of our life and our health.- Lilly Singh about YouTube

As YouTube has evolved so has the algorithm that suggests videos to viewers. Other vloggers have complained about the challenge of constantly creating content for a constantly shifting system.

Speaking to CBC News, Elle Mills talked about feeling trapped. "It's like running on a treadmill, and it just keeps going faster and faster. Sometimes you need to slow down and you are unable to slow it down." 

Even Singh, who is a published author with a growing acting career and her own production company, says she's no longer happy with the content she's creating.

For its part, YouTube has launched a series of wellness videos to help creators achieve a better work-life balance.   

In a statement YouTube Canada's Nicole Bell told CBC News: "We love Lilly and support her decision to take some time out. We and the rest of Team Super will be ready and waiting when Lilly comes back better than ever."

She also added that the technology YouTube uses to recommend videos doesn't take upload frequency or past performance into consideration.

For her part, Singh says she's taking the break to re-evaluate how she defines success. It may be a week or a month, or however long it takes until her "soul feels ready to do so."

YouTube burnout: The pressure to constantly create

5 years ago
Duration 3:00
From stars like Elle Mills to Louis Cole, YouTube has some formidable talent creating content on a daily basis. The constant drive to pump out new videos is what keeps them on top, but it comes at a price on their mental health.


Eli Glasner

Senior entertainment reporter

Eli Glasner is the senior entertainment reporter and screentime columnist for CBC News. Covering culture has taken him from the northern tip of Moosonee Ontario to the Oscars and beyond.