SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Forty-two percent of America’s young-but-cynical Generation Z are dealing with a mental health condition, a new survey finds. A range of these issues were largely identified during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The analysis by Harmony Healthcare IT suggests tens of millions of Gen Z young adults started dealing with a mental health problem in the months immediately following the start of the global pandemic in March 2020. The Indiana-based data management company’s survey highlights a staggering percentage of young adults diagnosed with anxiety, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during the pandemic.
Three-quarters of these Americans, all under the age of 25, say the pandemic negatively impacted their mental health, with many citing loneliness and uncertainty about the future.
Eighty-five percent of Gen Z respondents say they’re worried about the future in general. The vast majority cite their personal finances, the economy, the environment, and the country’s increasingly polarized political landscape as top concerns.
Nearly 90 percent of Gen Z respondents believe their generation is not set up for success and 75 percent feel they are at a disadvantage in comparison to previous generations (like baby boomers or Gen X) who are at least 42 years-old in 2022. This latest poll portrays Gen Z as overwhelmingly cynical about the post-pandemic world and what role they may one day play in it.
1 in 5 young adults are seeing a therapist
Twenty percent of the 1,000 Gen Z study participants say they have a regular therapist, 57 percent take regular medication, and 39 percent attend therapy for mental health issues once a week. Gen Zers are also two times more likely than millennials or Gen Xer to report struggling with daily emotional distress issues.
More than two in five of the country’s 68 million Gen Zers have a clinically-diagnosed mental health condition. Nine in 10 Gen Z adults diagnosed with mental health issues say they struggle specifically with anxiety. Moreover, eight in 10 say they fight against frequent bouts of depression.
Almost one-third of Gen Z survey respondents rate their overall mental health in 2022 as “bad,” with a sizable portion of these young people saying they have more bad days than good in any given month. Many of these often-intangible mental health issues may have a connection to very tangible concerns about daily life among America’s increasingly pessimistic young people.
Sixty-six percent of Gen Z respondents say they don’t feel financially stable and half of these young Americans don’t feel ready to join the U.S. workforce. An overwhelming majority say they’re concerned about the future of the economy and 90 percent are perpetually worried about their personal finances.
Sociologists and statisticians identify Gen Z as the third-largest American population behind the millennials and baby boomers. These tweens, teenagers, and 20-somethings are also the most racially, ethnically, and sexually diverse generation in the United States.
In September 2022, Harmony Healthcare IT surveyed 1,055 Gen Z adults to ask them about their mental health. 47% were men, 45% women, 6% nonbinary, and 2% transgender. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 24 with an average age of 22.