Little Mix star Jesy Nelson has quit the group after nine years as a result of declining mental health.

Nelson made the announcement on Tuesday morning in a lengthy statement on Instagram, in which she called it the “most incredible time of my life.”

“The truth is recently being in the band has really taken a toll on my mental health. I find the constant pressure of being in a girl group and living up to expectations very hard,” she said.

“There comes a time in life when we need to reinvest in taking care of ourselves rather than focussing on making other people happy, and I feel like now is the time to begin that process.”

The rest of the group has also taken to Instagram to issue a statement regarding Nelson’s departure, calling it “an amazing 9 years together.”

“This is an incredibly sad time for all of us but we are fully supportive of Jesy. We love her very much and agree that it is so important that she does what is right for her mental health and well-being,” they wrote.

But despite Nelson’s departure, the rest of the group – Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards and Leigh-Anne Pinnock – remain adamant that they will continue to make music together in future.

“We are still very much enjoying our Little Mix journey and the 3 of us are not ready for it to be over.”

“We know that Jesy leaving the group is going to be really upsetting news for our fans. We love you guys so much and are so grateful for your loyalty and continued support of all of us. We’re looking forward to seeing so many of you on tour.”

The news comes nearly a month after the band announced that Nelson was taking “extended time off” for medical reasons, resulting her missing a number of shows including the MTV Europe Music Awards and an appearance on Strictly Come Dancing.