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Why Is Generation Z More Open to Discussing Mental Health?

The term “Generation Z” refers to those who were born between 1997 and 2012. They are the first generation to have grown up with the Internet and cell phones, and they have had a totally different worldview than earlier generations.

They are specifically connected globally with a diverse range of people and interact mostly through technology and social media. This generation of nearly 60 million Americans is slowly beginning to face real-world issues such as paying for school, obtaining a job, and dealing with the stress of adulthood.

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This begs the question, how does Generation Z handle mental health in comparison to earlier generations? They have grown up in difficult times, with many stresses such as 9/11, school shootings, climate change, and political instability, yet this generation has continually demonstrated that it is one that freely discusses mental health.

  1. Why is Generation Z utilising therapy at a higher rate than previous generations?

According to the American Psychiatric Association’s “Stress in America: Generation Z” report released in October 2019, Gen Z were more likely to have received treatment or gone to therapy (37 per cent) than Millennials (35 per cent), Gen X’ers (26 per cent), Baby Boomers (22 per cent), and the Silent Generation (22 per cent) (15 per cent).

Furthermore, as compared to their older counterpart generations, Millennials (15%) and Gen X (27%), Gen Z was more likely to describe their mental health as fair or poor (13 per cent).

The reasons for this trend of increased use of mental health services and inadequate reporting of mental health are most likely threefold:

  • Life has brought a wide range of stressors, increasing psychological issues and the demand for mental health care.
  • Awareness of mental health concerns has risen to the point that what was formerly overlooked is now recognised as a problem and treated as such.
  • The stigma associated with utilising mental health services has decreased, making it more likely that Gen Z will identify their own concerns and seek treatment if they believe they have a treatable mental health condition.

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  • Concerns About Mental Health Among Generation Z

There are several reasons for Gen Z to be more stressed than earlier generations. Finally, stress can exacerbate psychological problems like anxiety and despair. The following are some of the factors that may be contributing to the rise in mental health disorders among Generation Z.

  • In the Stress in America poll, conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of the American Psychological Association in July and August 2018, 75 percent of Gen Z respondents (300 15- to 17-year-olds) reported feeling stressed over major school shootings.
  • According to another survey, over half of Gen Z respondents said they spend at least 10 hours each day online. More screen time means less time engaging with others in person, perhaps increasing feelings of loneliness and isolation. With less leisure, being ultra-connected might entail increased pressure and expectations (e.g., if doing school or work online).
  • According to the APA survey, 91 percent of Gen Z respondents said they had physical or psychological problems as a result of stress. Money/work (64%) was cited as a source of stress, followed by debt (33%), housing (31%), and hunger (31%). (28 percent). Only half of those surveyed said they were doing enough to manage their stress.
  • Gen Z may also be more stressed as a result of global challenges such as climate change, political climate, immigration, and overall fear about the future.
  • Generation Z is the first to be exposed to potentially dangerous information via social media at a young age (e.g., self-harm videos).
  • Gen Z was found to be more prone to self-harm, have a negative body image, miss sleep, be overweight, and suffer from depression, according to research from the University College London.
  • Gen Z also experiences social media and technology-related pressures, such as sexual and non-sexual harassment, bullying, and the urge to comply.

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  • Why Is Generation Z More Aware of Mental Health Issues?

It’s also likely that Gen Z’s increasing use of treatment is due to their willingness to talk about their mental health. More open communication about psychological disorders and how to handle stress will result as people become more aware of and accepting of mental health concerns in general.

What motivates Generation Z to be more honest about their mental health? There are probably several explanations for this. Prior generations may have prepared the way for Gen Z’s openness by raising mental health awareness and promoting anti-stigma efforts.

Gen Z has been connected to other people’s stories through social media and the internet, whether it’s strangers on the internet or superstars and influencers. In comparison to prior generations such as Millenials and Gen X (many of their parents’ generation), all of these characteristics may have made it simpler for Gen Z to come out about their mental health difficulties. By normalising mental health dialogues, Gen Z will be able to deal with their problems and move on rather than stay stuck—which is exactly what many of them are doing.

Mental health issues are not going to hold this generation back. Rather, they’d prefer to be treated so that they may live their lives to the fullest. They don’t want to be held back by mental health issues since they’ve seen how to feel well and want to do so for themselves.

  • Why Is There Less Stigma Against Mental Health Among Generation Z?

Another reason why Generation Z may be obtaining therapy more frequently than prior generations is that there is less stigma associated with seeking help.

Unlike Millenials and Gen X’ers, who grew up in a time when discussing mental health issues or seeking treatment was considered strange or bad, Gen Z is part of a generation that does not face the same stigma. This begs the question, why is this generation stigmatised less? Why has the stigma faded in the age of Generation Z?

  • Making Mental Health Treatment More Acceptable

Gen Z has grown up in a society where seeking help for psychological issues is considered normal and natural. They don’t know any different, thus they don’t associate speaking about it with any negative sentiments.

Asking for help with mental health is considered as a strength rather than a weakness among Generation Z, just as going to the doctor for a broken bone is viewed as a wise decision.

  • What Generation Z Can Teach Other Generations

What can other generations learn from Gen Z in terms of being more upfront about mental health issues, getting help when necessary, and decreasing stigma?

The perspective of each generation is shaped by the environment in which they were reared. Regardless matter how much stress Gen Z appears to be under, it is true that each generation has experienced their own form of stress and coped with it in their own manner. Change is required to progress to a better way of life, and this change is unavoidable. Keep your eyes and ears open no matter what generation you belong to in order to stay current. What feels incorrect to you now may become the standard tomorrow. As the saying goes, the only constant in life changes.

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