According to the latest research, it is evident that the new generation is 'more tuned in to recognizing issues with their mental health than older generations.'
On social media, it might appear that Gen Z are living their best life ever, but that is not true. These people born between 1997 through 2012 are growing up in an age of uncertainty. There are relevant issues like the declining economic condition, climate change, pandemic and its after-effects. Gen Z had to learn how to deal with all of that while trying to grapple with their last ounce of mental stability. Sure enough, what's going on around the world is taking a toll on young minds and now the same has been proven through research as well.
A recent study from Gallup and the Walton Family Foundation has found that 47% of Americans who fall in the Gen Z bracket have been facing mental health issues compared to millennials and the older generation. A survey was conducted on over 3,000 people between the age groups of 12 to 26, which concluded that Gen Z faces higher levels of depression, stress, anxiety and various other mental health issues.
Many suspect that the primary reason behind the mental health issues in the Gen Z crowd is their overuse of phones and long screen time. Since they have grown up in a hyperconnected world marked by social media sites and apps, their mental issues might have stemmed from seeking social validation. Compared to any other generation, Gen Z had constant access to technological advancement in society, such as the release of the iPhone back in 2007. During their formative years, every Gen Z individual was more or less surrounded by smartphones and internet access.
Due to facing instances of social comparisons, cyberbullying and feeling the need to match unrealistic standards of success and beauty that are promoted online, Gen Z is "not thriving" as it seems on the outside. But there is a positive side to this generation as well because Gen Z has started to self-report mental health struggles and is eager to find solutions for them and sit through therapy sessions. "This generation may be more tuned in to recognizing issues with their mental health than older generations," psychologist Arthur Evans said, per CNN Health. He added that he is not "exactly off the mark either."
Dr. Vanessa Milagros—who goes by @dr.vanessaphd on TikTok—a licensed mental health professional, steps in to shed light on this complex issue. She offers an insightful perspective that highlights the multifaceted reasons behind the younger generation's distinct approach to mental health, going beyond mere pill-popping. She counters the notion that environmental stressors alone should be enough to explain the rise in mental health issues among the younger generation.
"You can have someone who has anxiety and depression and it doesn't mean that they're both going to have the same symptoms. Somebody may have depression and they may sleep in bed all day. Another person may have depression and they're doing three jobs in one day, but they're still both depressed," Milagros said in her video. It isn't the first research highlighting Gen Z's mental health struggles, per the outlet. Earlier in 2023, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said poor mental health remains a "substantial public health problem" for adolescents, especially among teen girls.