Gen Z: A Mental Health Insight ?
Since the pandemic began, Gen Z and millennials have been shaken up by uncertainties around their career, personal space, forging new friendships and skill development. Grief, fear, uncertainty, social isolation, increased screen time, and parental fatigue negatively affect all aspects of our life.
Starting with some mindboggling Statistics
According to a study published in October ‘21 by UNICEF, 14% of young people aged between 15-25 years or 1 out of 7 people, often feel depressed or face some mental health-related issues in India.
These statistics will send chills down your spine. As the days pass, it is evident the detrimental impact the COVID-19 pandemic has played on each of the generations and highlighted the vulnerabilities in our lifestyle.
To understand who Gen Z is, I have outlined my impression of this generation.
A generation born at the peak of technical innovation, giving them access to all forms of digital and social media platforms right from their pubescent years.
While we still understand the long-term effects of the culturally altering imprints of Social media, this generation is right in the eye of the storm.
With the digital world right at their palm from nearly day 1 of their existence, it has also given them a unique power of self-expression, something the previous generations are still struggling with. As a result, their hyper-progressive thought process is the internet amalgamation of western and eastern cultures.
Interestingly enough, as a mental health professional, one key highlight of Gen Z that stands out is their approach towards mental health. They are proving to be the flag bearers of the change India needs to see in talking about mental health and taking it seriously.
They have used the technology to create a sense of uniformity in approaching mental health problems. Their awareness, although sometimes misguided, is a testament to the power of information stored over the internet.
Gen Z has started to face the harsh realities of a strained mind from a young age. The statistics show the prevalence of mental illnesses at a very early age. However, the resilience of the generations is what makes them unique.
They have found discrete ways to demand Mental Health services from the market. Using technology as their aid, they are protecting their privacy and yet embarking upon a journey to make the necessary changes in their mental health.
While this generation is fighting the battles, we must learn from them and help them build a better eco-system that takes care of not only their but the mental health needs of all the generations.
Stigmas such as societal ignorance, prejudice, and misinformation about mental health create barriers for each generation to voice their concerns and seek help when required.
These barriers affect Gen Z more as they are not fully financially independent, and facing such obstacles are additional cause for their misery.
Possible solutions that can help all of us, and especially Gen Z, are
Affordability of Mental Health Care
Online counselling and emotional support platform designed to foster mental wellness, prioritising their confidentiality and tailoring their needs and concerns.
Especially designed training modules, workshops and assessments to build qualities of resilience, increased self-esteem and healthy coping mechanisms, so they don’t have to struggle to find the right fit and have resources handy.
Mental Health struggles are not restricted to age. Our Gen Z is facing such emotional upheaval today because of the ignorant nature of the previous generations towards mental health.
Taking responsibility for ourselves and working in a direction that helps us to strengthen ourselves and the people around us is the only solution that will help us improve our mental health and create a caring and nurturing future for future generations.