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Mental Health

Gen Z vs Mental Health: Breaking Down Stigmas The Gen Z Way

By definition, Generation Z (Gen Z for short or Zoomers ― if you will) are individuals who were born between the mid-1990s and the early 2010s. And as for me, having been born in 2002, I know that since then (and like other generations before us) a lot has happened. Growing up, Gen Z’s have seen the affects of terrorism, gun violence, racism, climate change, gender equality, and what ties everything together ― technology. With no experience living in a pre-digital world, with perspectives on how to change the world, we’re doing our best to change things for the better. And sometimes it takes a toll on the one thing that many digress upon, talking about mental health

Mental health has been a continuous issue and has overall impacted many across multiple generations. According to the American Psychological Association, an estimate of nine in every ten Gen Z adults have reported to experience one physical or emotional symptom of stress. 

Mental health is real and it’s here to take over. But that doesn’t mean that Gen Z’s or any other generation is going to let it take its course. And being the generation that’s known to be at the frontier of social media, in our own ways we’re breaking down the stigmas that come with depression, anxiety, and more. 

Here are some ways that Gen Zers cope with mental health and how everyone can too:

THERAPY

Because of the stigma, it’s been challenging for many to reach out. But therapy comes in all sorts of ways and finding the one that works best for you is the most important. Reports state that at least 35% of Gen Z’s are most likely to seek help from a psychologist or other mental health professionals. Sharing ― talking out your feelings and thoughts to someone or to yourself is one step towards the right direction. And getting acquainted with the right organizations, the right people, and knowing oneself can help in facing and understanding mental health issues.

Helpful resources and organizations:

social media

Another way that Gen Z dominates mental health is social media. Now, there are many pros and cons between the usage of social media (I.e., Instagram, TikTok, Twitter ― and the like), but other than comparing pictures and endless scrolling, Gen Z is taking it to the next level.

Advocacy. Social media is the way for Gen Zers to share their problems and experiences with a little spice of humor. A quick search on TikTok will show you dozens of people being open and bringing awareness to others that mental health is here and that it’s okay to come to terms with it. Though, vulnerability comes with sharing your story, but if it means that other Gen Z’s will see it, relate to it, and possibly even start their own journey in helping better their mental health issues ― then the choice is up to you.

It isn’t something that people have to face alone. Whether you share it with the world or with one person, getting on social media to gain resources, posts of positivity, and knowledge on mental health can go a long way.

apps

Being on our phones, face-to-face with technology, shouldn’t always be a bad thing. Gen Z has been at the heart of apps and storage space, but there are apps out there that could also help with mental health. Take the app Calm, for example, that has been researched and shown its ability to help.

I, for one, use apps such as MoodSpace and DiveThru (being my favorite) that help me get the advice, assistance, and journal prompts I need to get my thoughts on paper. It’s therapeutic and allows people to keep away from any negative thoughts/events going on around them. Apps are helping Gen Zers find ways to cope with oneself all in the palms of their hands.

activity

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/ Unsplash

There’s a saying, “Do what you love and love what you do.” Many Gen Z’s are coping with their mental health issues by doing activities that they know and enjoy. It’s time for leisure! Research has shown that people who take time away from their troubles and be in the present, such as being active in non-stressful environments, can help lower stress and anxiety.

Be around the people who lift you up and not those who bring you down. And as a fellow Gen Z, I say, “Do it the Marie Kondo way. If you hold on to something and it sparks joy, keep it. If not, throw it away, because there’s no room for toxic anything that could hurt our mental health!”

Take time for yourself and only for yourself. Spend time with family or friends. And remember to make your mental health a priority, because you matter.

Aubrey is a second-year student majoring in Public Health and pursuing a minor in Biology at UH Manoa. Being born and raised on the island of Maui, Hawaii, she aspires to help others, focusing on community outreach and underrepresented minority health. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, journaling, and going on picnics/watching films with family and friends.
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