The generation that is ready to videotape a bear hurdling towards them but is scared to place a doctor's appointment.
Gen Z has definitely made quite the entrance with their shift in culture and widespread trends. Generational shifts are naturally predicted, but this one generation has altered the fundamental dynamics of how things function.
An aspect of life that they have taken over is mental health. The change noticed in this area is immense, and this group of people deserve much respect for their accomplishments.
Loads of research papers prove that the newer generations, Gen Z in specific, experience more mental health issues than any other. And it is only this group of people that are said to be reporting their issues more and going to therapy. The reason for the surge in popularity of using mental health services could be threefold:
- The number of stressors in our lives has increased to a whole new level in the past few years. This, in turn, may have led to increased concerns regarding psychological well-being.
- The general awareness of mental health has also grown. It is now more popularly being looked at as a serious issue.
- The stigma associated with the topic has significantly reduced. More people are identifying with the issues and seeking help when necessary.
The possible reason for the increased awareness and more open discussions of mental health among Gen Z could be the increased usage of the same. More children and young adults are going to therapy, which leads the subject to be more accepted and embraced. Moreover, advocates from the previous generations have paved the way for future generations to express their concerns. Public campaigns to reduce the stigma were a noteworthy initiative taken by our beloved boomers.
The influence of social media goes without saying. The number of stories of battling and overcoming mental health disorders comes in heaps. The number of supporters one can find on a single social media platform is, without a doubt, far more than one can get offline. Those sharing their stories may be influencers, strangers, celebrities, etc.
The fact that mental health is starting to lose the stigma attributed to it is a major factor in its assent by the individuals a part of Gen Z. The normalized treatment of mental health, which is the environment these people are raised in, has contributed a great deal. The call-out culture (which involves confrontation of something considered wrong) makes it okay for the stigma to be called out. This is primarily because the generations before Gen Z were raised being only exposed to what their parents said, gossips, whispers, and pop culture. They didn't have many alternative sources of information, whereas Gen Z has the entire world in their pockets.
Interestingly, the meme culture is also incorporating the concept of mental health. Although, it is a little hard to say if the memes of Gen-Z are supporting mental health or making a joke out of it. Some memes talk about how no one really gives much attention to men's mental health. Then again, there are also memes about how people with their own mental health struggles are helping others. You could say the hearts' of Gen-Z are in the right place, but their sense of humor throws them off a little.
Getting help was normalized during the course of Gen Z's childhood. Baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) and Gen X (born between 1965 and 1970/80) were introduced to the Internet pretty late in their lives. Millennials had it both ways; some grew up with the Internet, whereas others didn't. On the other hand, Gen Z has had the full spectrum of awareness, particularly in the field of mental health. Mental health is discussed the same way one would talk about their preference in music. In the Gen Z culture, asking for help isn't seen as a sign of weakness; instead, it shows strength. For them, going to a mental health professional is like going to an orthopedic doctor for a broken bone.
Mental Health shouldn't be neglected. Speaking up for oneself shouldn't be taken as a weakness. Seeking professional help shouldn't be considered taboo. These are the things other generations must learn from Gen Z!