Generation Z Accepts Mental Health Like Never Before

Gen Z faces different challenges than prior generations, resulting in higher percentages of mental health, but less stigma

Kyra Price

More stories from Kyra Price


From school shootings to COVID-19, Gen Z has had to shoulder burdens other generations couldn’t even imagine.

Every generation has had to deal with a certain amount of stress, but Generation Z has taken stress to an extreme. From school shootings to COVID-19, Gen Z has had to shoulder burdens other generations couldn’t even imagine.

Gen Z is much more open about mental health than past generations. Whether that is anxiety, depression, bipolar or other issues, Gen Z also reports much higher percentages of mental illness. 

A whopping 91% report symptoms due to stress. Despite the high percentage of young people reporting feeling these symptoms, mental illness and mental health as a whole still carry stigma. 

People often avoid diagnosis or care due to this stigma. They’re afraid of being treated differently by friends, family and people around them, or even of losing jobs.

The stigma around mental health primarily comes from a lack of knowledge and understanding of mental illness. People are afraid of what they don’t understand. 

According to the American Psychiatric Association, there are three different types of stigma: public stigma, self-stigma and institutional stigma.  Public stigma includes negative, discriminatory mindsets others have toward those with mental illness. 

Self-stigma is the shame people feel about their own mental condition. Institutional stigma involves government and private organization laws and attitudes toward mental illness, where opportunities for those with mental illness are limited.

Stigma also shows up as stereotypes and prejudice. Mentally ill people are often seen as dangerous, and so the term “mentally ill” causes fear among people. 

There is also a lot of shame that comes with illness as mentally ill people are often seen as or feel as though they are to blame for their own condition. All this stigma follows mental health even though over 50% of people will be diagnosed with a mental illness within their lifetime, and one in 25 Americans is currently living with a serious mental illness.

Mental conditions have no single cause, but many factors that could contribute. For example, trauma or abuse, chronic medical conditions, biological factors, alcohol and drug use and feelings of being alone or isolated.

Gen Z is much more likely to report their mental health as poor in comparison to other generations, as well as being more likely to try treatment or therapy. This is likely due to stressors Gen Z has faced that other generations haven’t had to deal with. 

Gen Z deals with things past generations didn’t have to think about at a young age like mass shootings, and an introduction to social media at an early age.

There are different treatments for different mental illnesses, and a different combination of treatments works for everyone. There are various types of therapy, medications and hospitalization options.

Mental health stigma still exists within this generation, but less so than others before them. Social media is a cause of many issues, but also a solution. 

Communicating with one another and sharing stories has brought awareness to mental health like never seen before. This, as well as public campaigns, has helped to reduce stigma and bring light to the reality of mental illness. It’s common, but it’s also treatable.

Price can be reached at [email protected].