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The friendly shadows of Generation Z


GenZ is a generation for which the concept of health is embedded in their overall definition of a fulfilling and well lived life.

In the study we conducted in summer 2023, 27% of gen Z representatives state that to have a well lived life one needs to have a healthy and balanced life, while illness and poor health is feared by 46%of Gen Z).  

What is interesting is that they actively show a high interest towards mental health, that even scores slightly higher in importance versus physical health (82% score of importance of mental health versus 79% score of importance for physical health).

This focus on mental health is strongly related to the high level of information this generation is exposed to. Young people today are encourage to look deep inside their soul and mind in order to become more resilient of the changes on the outside world.

So, being more aware on the subject consequently makes them more conscious on the issue and more preoccupied on recognising potential dangers, preventing and protecting their mental health. Not more hiding or ignoring the problem out of shame, but open to identifying and admitting it in case of facing any issue

This can be also seen in the wide range of issues they recognise as potential mental health problems, which indicates current generation posses significantly more knowledge in the area compared to previous ones. Since a generation so focused on building a strong and authentic self/ identity but in a such exposed world, reaching harmony & balance seems even trickier. Therefore, mental health is not about harsh emotional events like trauma only but it is also about pressures they can confront with on daily basis – from incertitude related to future, to work& school pressure or to relationship with others & social pressure.

The other side of the coin relies in the fact that we are still talking about “kids”, people on their way of maturing, in search of their path and true self. Thus, all this talk on mental health can ultimately put extra pressure on them which might aggravate their fragility, risking to take their emotions and feelings too seriously - and this can be easily be seen from how they actually evaluate their mental health state. While most of them appreciate themselves being  in good state of mental health, there is still room to improve/ there are still potential struggles or issues to be overcome, given there is quite a gap between importance & satisfaction scores

Topics that indicate potential aggravation because of data overload at young age:

  • young people labelling as "toxic' any behaviour they do not understand or does not align to their thinking
  • fragility in looking for answers outside their family trust circle and sensitivity to "overpowering" entourage (including drugs)
  • political correctness beyond tolerance, becoming judgemental if one shows signs of discrimination and intolerance; taking things too dramatic
  • over claiming depression for any type of sadness
  • lacking trust in what they see and how people are; looking more at the shadows of people rather than their light
  • fear of being overexposed, with no filters
  • trapped in their devices with no power to disconnect
  • pressure of doing things as others in online are doing; no boredom, no laziness, no "doing nothing", which makes them burn faster

Data are extracted from the survey "Generation Z: Vision of Future" conducted in collaboration with McKinsey Romania



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