Statistics from the American Psychology Association (APA) showed that members of Gen Z– those aged 10 to 25 – are more likely to report mental health concerns than any other generation. But this isn’t the only way Gen Z is making waves when it comes to addressing mental health. Read on to learn more!
Gen Z Is Breaking Long-held Stigmas
Sometimes referred to as “digital natives,” Gen Z uses social media to connect with others who are experiencing similar struggles. From posting memes to posting personal “day in the life” videos on Instagram and TikTok, Gen Z is helping to break long-held stigmas surrounding mental health and mental illness. By sharing personal experiences and responding directly to mental health stigmas, Gen Z is making people more familiar with mental health issues.
And research from the American Psychology Association (APA) proves that when people are more familiar with a mental health issue, they are less likely to stigmatize it. Sharing experiences online also helps build a sense of community and support, which may help at-risk individuals overcome their fear of being stigmatized for seeking professional care and start their mental health journey.
Gen Z Is Inspiring the Development of New Mental Health Resources
Gen Z’s prevalence to share online has inspired tech companies like Facebook and Pinterest to use AI algorithms to connect at-risk users to mental health resources. The AI uses a person’s shared content to determine if they are at risk, and also to determine what resources would be most effective to share with them.
Health providers and public health organizations have also taken to social media to increase awareness and share mental health resources. Some health professionals even breakdown the therapy process, procedures for diagnosis, and treatment options on social media in order to make the treatment process more approachable.
And while these developments are great for boosting awareness, it’s important to always consult a psychologist for an official diagnosis if you suspect that you may have a mental illness.
It should also be noted that social media has its downsides. Frequent social media use has been shown to increase stress levels and may be linked to an increase in mental distress over the past decade. However, this is likely due to how intensely content has been curated on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, as this study suggests.
New social media platforms, such as BeReal, are being developed that emphasize the importance of presence and serve to combat influencer culture. “Anti-social media,” platforms like BeReal may be the beginning of more holistic social networking, and for Gen Z-ers that means safer and more effective discussions around mental health.
Gen Z Is Normalizing Open Discussions About Mental Health Issues
Gen Z-ers aren’t afraid to speak up about their mental health issues, according to the APA. And that courage is, honestly, something we need more of. By encouraging conversations about the impact of stress, anxiety, and other conditions on social media, and in real life, Gen Z-ers are normalizing the practice of having open discussions about mental health.
These open conversations about mental health create more opportunities for people to find the support and care they need, and also helps them feel validated and less isolated in their mental health journey. And that’s something any generation can get behind.
Inspired to help boost mental health awareness and wellbeing? Check out this article to learn more.