Supporting Gen Z’s Mental Health: Unique Challenges and Healing Strategies during Mental Health Awareness Month

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    From May 1 to May 31, Mental Health Awareness Month serves as an important platform for recognising and prioritising the basic importance of mental health and well-being in our everyday lives. As we observe this month-long commemoration, it is critical to raise a focus on the specific mental health difficulties that folks, particularly the younger generation, confront. In today’s fast-paced digital world, the mental health landscape has had a huge influence on Generation Z, often known as “Digital Natives.”

    Generation Z, born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, finds itself navigating a world packed with new demands and difficulties in the quickly expanding realm of technology and social media. From rising academic stress to social media comparison, Gen Z is confronted with a number of concerns that have a negative impact on their mental health and well-being.

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    According to a recent Ogilvy survey, 70% of Gen Z say their mental health needs substantial attention and development. Furthermore, according to the American Psychological Association, Generation Z is more prone than any other group to report mental health difficulties. This is unsurprising given the horrible tragedies this generation has witnessed, from the COVID-19 epidemic to mass massacres.

    According to the Deloitte Indian GenZ Survey Report for 2022, the Gen Z cohort accounts for around 35-40% of the corporate workforce in India. Among this generation, 49% of Indian Gen Z and 43% of Indian Millennials report persistent feelings of worry or tension. Furthermore, mental health illnesses impact 14% of India’s population, accounting for 15% of worldwide mental health disorders. These numbers suggest that 56 million people in India suffer from depression, while 38 million suffer from anxiety disorders.

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    Gen Z’s mental health challenges and how to assist them:

    “A comprehensive approach is required to assist Gen Z on their journey to mental health and healing.” This approach recognises their particular problems and provides them with the skills they need to grow resilience. It entails providing a welcoming and friendly environment that encourages open conversation. Furthermore, increasing mental health awareness and understanding via educational programmes is critical. It is critical to provide access to resources such as counselling services and helplines. “Encouraging self-care practises and emphasising the importance of seeking help when needed are also important components of supporting Gen Z’s mental health journey,” says clinical psychologist Nidhi Tiwari.

    Diksha Singh, a counselling psychologist at Lissun, highlighted some of the prevalent mental health difficulties that this generation faces, as well as helpful hints to help them on their journey to recovery and resilience.

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    1. Anxiety and depression:

    Due to academic demands, social media comparisons, economic instability, and other stressors, Gen Z has a high percentage of anxiety and sadness.

    • Encourage open conversations: Provide a secure and non-judgmental environment for Gen Z to voice their thoughts and concerns.
    • Encourage self-care activities such as exercise, mindfulness, writing, or hobby participation to assist manage anxiety and depression symptoms.
    • Seek professional assistance: Encourage them to contact mental health specialists who can give treatment, counselling, or medication as required.

    2. The influence of social media:

    Generation Z has grown up with social media, which can lead to poor self-esteem, cyberbullying, and continuous comparison. The following are some suggestions for navigating social media in a healthier manner:

    • Encourage digital detox: To decrease the detrimental influence on Gen Z’s mental health, encourage them to take breaks from social media.
    • Encourage them to follow accounts that encourage body positivity, mental health awareness, and personal growth on social media.
    • Critical thinking should be taught: Assist them in developing a critical mentality that allows them to challenge the legitimacy and truthfulness of material on social media networks.

    3. Loneliness and isolation:

    Despite being digitally connected, Gen Z frequently feels lonely and alone. Here are some ways you may help:

    • Encourage them to join in group activities, organisations, or events where they may meet like-minded people and build important relationships.
    • Foster supportive communities by assisting them in locating online or offline communities focusing on common interests, hobbies, or support groups.
    • Teach empathy and kindness: To prevent emotions of loneliness, promote acts of kindness, inclusiveness, and empathy both online and offline.

    4. Academic and professional pressures:

    Gen Z is under enormous pressure to thrive academically and in a competitive work market.

    • Encourage them to set reasonable objectives and remind them that their worth is not simply defined by their academic or professional achievements.
    • Encourage them to prioritise self-care, leisure activities, and keeping healthy boundaries between job or school and home life.
    • Provide direction: To alleviate stress and confusion, provide advice in researching various career pathways, internship possibilities, and options for future study.

    “Remember that, while these suggestions can be beneficial, it is critical to recognise that everyone’s healing journey is unique.” “It’s critical to seek professional help from a licenced mental health professional who can provide personalised guidance and support if mental health issues persist or worsen,” Diksha says.

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