More than 7 in 10 Gen-Zers report facing high levels of mental distress

More than 7 in 10 Gen-Zers report symptoms of depression during pandemic, survey finds.

Economic and lifestyle impacts from COVID-19 are taking a severe mental toll on this group, according to research from Sandpiper Communications.

The results of the survey were based on 1,226 Gen Zs (aged 18 to 24 years) across Australia, China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Generation Z in Asia Pacific (APAC) struggle to talk about their mental health despite mounting pressures arising from the ongoing pandemic. It is reported that this group faces the highest levels of stress compared to other generations and was the most likely age group to report symptoms of depression. 

More than 7 in 10 Gen-Z adults surveyed said they experienced common symptoms of depression such as: feeling tired, doing nothing, having trouble thinking and concentrating and feeling very restless, lonely, miserable or unhappy.. 

Causes of stress

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“Youths are experiencing adulthood at a time when the future looks uncertain while older generations might have more perspective that enables them to cope with the changes”, according to the report.

The Gen Z group in Singapore reported that the top source of overwhelming stress was family pressures (63 per cent), followed by relationships with friends (46 per cent) and career pressures (42 per cent).

To put that in perspective, millennials (ages 24-41) ranked their stress level 5.6 out of 10, and Gen X (ages 42-55) said their stress was a 5.2 out of 10. The overall reported stress level for millennials is about 5.0.

For Gen-Z teens, ages 13 to 17, 51% said that the pandemic made it impossible to plan for the future, and 67% of Gen-Z adults in higher college said the same. 

Economic and lifestyle impacts

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Out of those who said social media had a positive impact on their mental health, almost 7 in 10 said this was because it helped them connect with family and friends.

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The influx of negative stories (61%) on social platforms is also the biggest reason Gen Z in APAC cite for believing social media access has negatively affected them. Additionally, of those who feel negatively, close to half (48%) across APAC say the lack of real connection with friends and loved ones has in fact worsened their mental health and wellbeing.

It is important that we understand how the pandemic is negatively affecting them and what opportunities exist for better communication and support. It is concerning that despite Gen Zs suffering increased mental health and wellbeing pressures during Covid-19, they still struggle to talk about these issues.

There are a few strategies that can help decrease anxiety and build emotional resilience in young people. For starters, giving young people outlets to talk about issues that are troubling them is important. It’s also crucial to remember that we are in the midst of a global pandemic, and we all may need more flexibility, space or support than usual.

Seek support if necessary

Stress on teenagers can be harmful to their health and wellbeing if it seems as though they have been enduring it for a long time. If your child has been showing signs of stress, we advise to look for professional or support groups. Have a chat with a family doctor, or consider giving your child an opportunity to talk things over with a counsellor. 

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