In a 2018 American Psychological Association (APA) survey, Generation Z reported the worst mental health of any generation, along with 90 percent of individuals reported being continually stressed.
Even so, there are many other factors to consider beyond the panicked headlines. The same survey revealed that Generation Z is more likely to report mental health and are receiving treatment more frequently than any previous generation.
“We are concurrently talking about mental health a lot more; we’re destigmatizing these things and supporting young people. The more we talk about it, the more young people are able to get support because they can articulate what they’re going through,” said Grace.
“I think that it’s going to help Generation Z practice self-care and develop the skills they need to be successful,” said Grace. “If they do experience anxiety or bouts of a depressive mindset, it’s important that can practice coping skills so that they can navigate college and the workforce.”
According to Grace, it will be impactful for Generation Z to bring a mindset towards talking openly about mental health and practicing self-care into the workplace.
In terms of the source of mental health problems, social media is often a topic of contention regarding its influence in young people’s lives. According to the APA survey, 45 percent of individuals within Generation Z reported feeling judged on social media, although 55 percent felt supported on social platforms.
“There’s very little evidence to date that completely points to technology and social media as the reason why young people have mental health concerns,” said Grace. “It may manifest in social media; but if a young person is struggling with mental health and they can’t turn to someone in their school or family, they might actually be able to find someone on their social media going through something similar to connect with.”
Grace has noticed that while Millennials are seen as relatively optimistic, Generation Z is characterized as seeing the world in a realistic manner.
“Gen Z recognizes that hard work is necessary—that the world isn’t always happy and perfect all the time, and there’s a lot more that’s going on compared to what’s on social
media,” said Grace. “We’ve seen it in a few different studies that Gen Z has a less positive viewpoint on the world and the future.” According to Grace, Generation Z has its own unique struggles with mental health and complications that simply come from growing up—similar to any generation: “Regardless, I think it’s a very mature group of people for being some of our youngest in our society.”