Deaths Of Despair Are Also On The Rise
More millennials are also dying deaths of despair, or deaths related to drugs, alcohol, and suicide, Jamie Ducharme reported for Time in June, citing a report by the public-health groups Trust for Americas Health and Well Being Trust.
While these deaths have increased across all ages in the past 10 years, theyve increased the most among younger Americans, Ducharme said. They accounted for the deaths of about 36,000 American millennials in 2017 alone, according to the report. Drug overdoses were the most common cause of death.
The report cites a few reasons behind these upticks young adults are more inclined to engage in risk-taking behaviors, comprise the highest number of enrolled military personnel, and disproportionately live in high-stress environments like correctional facilities.
The Saddest Generation: Why Gen Z Is The Most Anxious Generation Ever
Alex is a 22-year-old social media manager for a startup. Six months ago, while standing in a crowded No. 3 express train on the way to work, he had a panic attack.
I was staring at my phone, trying to simultaneously respond to a Slack message from my boss but also scrolling through Instagram and texting a friend when I thought I was going to die, says Alex . I literally thought I was being crushed under what felt like a mountain of work, overwhelmed, and messages were coming at me from everywhere, and I just wanted to die.
Its a common feeling for Becky, a 20-year-old college student. Im anxious all the time, she says. What about? Being in school. Feeling pressure to have a social life. Politics. My friend is studying abroad in Spain and I read a story on Twitter about someone who got their kidney stolen in Spain. The coronavirus. Everyone I know has cancer.
The young are more anxious than ever. Young people and for that matter, old people everyone is anxious. Everyone has too much to do. The U.S. is the most overworked nation in the world.
Studies show that depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide are increasingly more common in this cohort than ones before. A 2019 study showed undergraduate students of the Gen Z cohort had double the rates of those issues than others.
Jessica, a 20-year-old student at Pace University says she hears about people counting posts. I havent posted in two months. Do people think Ive done nothing?
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Generation Z Is Lonelier Than Millennials And More Reluctant To Embrace The Responsibilities And Joys Of Adulthood Life Online Seems To Be A Reason
Moral panic about the young is at least as old as the trial of Socrates, so lets resist catastrophic thinking about Generation Z and begin with good news: The generation born between 1995 and 2012 is far more risk-averse and more physically safe than its elders. It is more tolerant of other races and sexual orientations. Most surprising, in the early months of the pandemic lockdowns that often took a toll in mental health, this generation managed to show an improvement.
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Why Is Gen Z Using Therapy More Than Previous Generations
In a report released by the American Psychiatric Association entitled Stress in America: Generation Z in October, 2019, Gen Z were more likely to have received treatment or gone to therapy compared to Millennials , Gen Xers , Baby Boomers , and the Silent Generation .
Furthermore, Gen Z were more likely to report their mental health as fair or poor , compared to their older counterpart generations, namely Millennials and Gen X .
The reason for this trend of increasing use of mental health services and reporting mental health being poor is likely threefold:
- Life has introduced a different variety of stressors, leading to increased psychological concerns and more need for services for mental health.
- Awareness of mental health issues has grown, so that what once might have been ignored is recognized as a problem and treated as such.
- Stigma around using mental health services has lessened, making it more likely that Gen Z will identify their own issues and seek help when they feel they have a mental health problem that can be treated.
Its Partly Linked To Money Stress
But there are other structural factors at play behind the uptick in deaths of despair, according to the Trust for Americas Health and Well Being Trust namely the myriad financial problems millennials are facing: student-loan debt, healthcare, childcare, and an expensive housing market.
These four costs are part of The Great American Affordability Crisis plaguing millennials thats putting them financially behind.
Studies have found a correlation between people with debt and mental-health problems. While this research, by its nature, cant identify causality, the likelihood of having a mental-health disorder is three times higher among those with unsecured debt, according to a meta-analysis, or study of studies, in the Clinical Psychology Review. People who have died by suicide were eight times more likely to have debt.
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Many Millennials Dealing With Mental
Over half of the workers polled in a new survey from the human-resources company Paychex said their jobs were negatively affecting their mental health. What’s worse, about 56% of the employees in the survey rated their company’s mental-health benefits as either “fair” or “poor.”
Many surveyed employees also said they didn’t get mental-health insurance from their jobs, and 45% of supervisors never received any mental-health training.
Paychex surveyed active employees and supervisors using an online survey. The respondents included people from high-paying industries, like medicine and finance, and lower-paying industries, like retail and manufacturing.
Alcohol Tobacco And Other Drugs
Misusing alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs can have both immediate and long-term health effects.
The misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and prescription medications affect the health and well-being of millions of Americans. SAMHSAs 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that approximately 19.3 million people aged 18 or older had a substance use disorder in the past year.
Why Is Gen Z More Depressed Than Previous Generations
All About Gen Zs Struggle With Mental Health
Gen Z is considered to be the most depressed generation. Unlike their parents, they are open to talking about their mental health struggles. Heres why.
Gen Z is and will always be different from any other generation who has come before us. A major way we are different from Gen Xers or Baby Boomers is that we are not afraid to advocate for ourselves and open up about the mental health challenges we face.
But the question is why?
Gen Z is considered to be the most depressed generation. 91% of Gen Z reported experiencing psychological symptoms due to stress. According to a study by Western Governors University in 2019, only 45% of Gen Z believe their mental health is good, which is 11% lower than the millennial generation. The Pew Research Center found that 70% of teens believe that depression and anxiety are significant problems amongst their peers.
But everyone must ask themselves, why is Gen Z so depressed? Why does Gen Z statistically show to have more mental problems than any other generation?
Lets look at the facts.
Anyone born between the years 1997 and 2012 is considered to be Gen Z. Look at everything that has happened since 1997, that had never happened before for previous generations.
1. Hundreds of mass shooting, many being in schools or colleges
2. 9/11, along with numerous other terrorist attacks
3. Social media was created, and basically took over our world
4. The climate crisis became a huge problem, threatening the future of the world
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How Education Stress During Covid
Schools act as a safety net for many young people and families. They offer engaging learning environments but also consistent meals, medical screenings and support services. In some areas, schools are the only source of mental health services for young people particularly for individuals who identify as LGBTQ and for individuals from low-income households or a family of color.
When the pandemic hit, millions of teachers and students across the country shifted to remote learning. This drastic change altered and in some cases erased the broader benefits that schools supply. It also separated students from their familiar social structures and networks.
This new normal wasnt easy. Nearly 3 in 10 parents surveyed in a May 2020 Gallup poll said that their child was experiencing harm to their emotional or mental health because of social distancing and school closures while 45% cited separation from teachers and classmates as a major challenge.
Young people who identify as LGBTQ have found the pandemic especially challenging, early research suggests. In one study, 50% of LGBTQ youth ages 13 to 17 and 65% of transgender and nonbinary youth said that COVID-19 impacted their ability to express their sexual identity. This same study found that 81% of LGBTQ youth described their living situation during the pandemic as more stressful than it was pre-pandemic.
Reversing Gen Z Depression Trends
In our Newport Institute programs, our treatment approach supports young adults to create new habits that nurture connection and well-being, while reducing behaviors proven to increase depressive symptoms. As mental health providers, we have the responsibility to educate young adults and families on effective, evidence-based methods for improving mental health, such as:
· Unplugging: Research shows that spending less time on devices and social media increases well-being.
· Improving sleep hygiene: An optimal sleep routine includes going to bed around the same time each night, waking up around the same time each morning, and getting seven to eight hours of shut-eye nightly.
· Engaging in real-life social connections: Studies show that young adults with close friends have fewer symptoms of depression, feel a greater sense of belonging, and recover more quickly from stressful events.
· Practicing mindfulness: Meditation, breathing techniques, and positive visualizations .
· Spending time in nature: Outdoor activities help regulate the nervous system and are proven to boost mood.
The statistics dont lie: Gen Z is more vulnerable to depression than any other age group. However, growing awareness, research, and treatment can help reverse this trend. And mental health professionals can make a difference not only through clinical therapy, but also by offering young adults simple yet powerful lifestyle changes to support well-being.
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Tomorrow: 4 Strategies To Overcome The Behavioral Health Access Challenge
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Join this webconference tomorrow at 3 pm ET to learn how leading population health leaders are transforming their behavioral health service line.
Generation Z Mental Health Statistics
Only 45% of Generation Z individuals say their mental health is good, or very good. Thats 11% less than the next closest generation. A whopping 91% of Gen Z said they experienced a physical or emotional symptom due to stress and mental illness in the past year.
The reality is that Generation Z struggles with mental illness. And its not hard to see why, as they are stressed and pressured with the world around them all the time.
Luckily, Gen Z is also the most likely generation to get help when they have mental health issues. From going to therapy to getting medicated, they are the most likely generation to seek that help. With mental illness help being more widely talked about, supported, and encouraged, its not surprising that this generation finds they are willing to seek therapy or other professionals when they need help. Its encouraging to note that while they feel immense stress and pressure, many of them are working to find resources to help them cope and improve.
Healthcare is going to have to evolve and change with the needs of its patients. As Gen Z ages and grows, the industry will have to adapt to their health needs and concerns.
How to improve mental health.
Seeking help from a professional is one of the most important things to improve mental health. A professional can help identify what the mental health issues are, if they need to be medicated, and identify strategies and resources that will best help.
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Many will argue that social media places the heaviest toll on Gen Zs mental health. The American Association of Pediatrics warns that too much social media use leads to depression and anxiety. Consuming too much social media can result in isolation and depression. But the pressure is really on when it comes to the persona you have to maintain online.
No doubt that generations before us were self-conscious and had insecurities about their bodies, but they never had to deal with it and with social media at the same time.
Every day teens and young adults get on social media to see celebrities and even their peers that appear to have perfect bodies, perfect skin and hair, and this perfect life. Oftentimes after seeing certain norms online, the pressure for Gen Z is on to look perfect and appear to have a perfect life as well, which can be damaging.
Around 45% of Gen Z say that social media makes them believe they are being judged, while 38% say social media makes them feel bad about themselves.
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Not only is Gen Z faced with self-identity issues online, but we face cyberbullying. Social media can be very hateful and negative, resulting in teens and young adults facing more mental health and self-image issues.
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So, what are some ways forward?
Burnham pointed to Silicon Valley tycoons in 2018, reminding them of the power they wield beyond the devices and apps they create. Blumkin, on his part, points to the health care system. We need an overhaul of our entire health care system, including mental health , he said. And this needs to be not a privilege, but an actual right.
In the meantime, Blumkin is hopeful for the future, because he says the research shows that so is Gen Z. He pointed to how contradictory feelings are typical of adolescence.
I think a lot of researchers believe this: that its going to get worse before it gets better as the world reopens, Blumkin said. I hope we can increase access, that we can support each other, and that, hopefully, it can get better and we can give folks the tools, because there are evidence-based interventions that can really help with a lot of these things. We just have to make sure people have access to it.
If you are struggling with suicidal ideation, depression or anxiety, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at 1-800-662-4357.
Top Image: Courtesy of Netflix
Whats Really Plaguing Gen Z
As the Covid-19 crisis continues, weve seen reports of younger generations ignoring recommended social distancing practices, partying on beaches, congregating in large groups and traveling without regard. On the outside, Gen Z appears to be living a carefree lifestyle without much care that a pandemic is happening around them, but according to Prosper Insights & Analytics recent consumer panel data how they act may not be indicative of how theyre feeling.
I had a chance to speak with Aimee Koontz, a consumer, brand and marketing expert who writes on retail trends and currently serves as an Industry Advisory Board Member and Guest Lecturer for the Fashion and Retail Studies Program at The Ohio State University.
Gary Drenik: Are the younger generations perplexed at all by Covid-19?
Emotional Well Being
Prosper Insights & Analytics
Drenik: Tell us more regarding the impact you are seeing Covid-19 take on Gen Z? Can you expand on the specifics of what you are seeing?
Prosper Insights & Analytics
Drenik: Clearly, the virus is taking a toll on the younger generations emotionally but you mentioned they are less concerned with the virus. Does this mean you anticipate seeing a shift in their social behaviors?
Boomers Most Cautious
Prosper Insights & Analytics
Complimentary Coronavirus/Covid-19 findings are available at AWS Data Exchange. To learn more, click here: Strategic Insights: Coronavirus Covid-19 Consumer