Apathy adds to mental health complexity among Generation Z


Praneeta Mahajan
Hamilton, December 14, 2023

The 2023 Deloitte Global Gen Z and Millennial survey gathered the views of over 22,000 people in 44 countries across North America, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia-Pacific. Additionally, in March 2023, qualitative interviews were conducted with 60 Gen Zs and millennials from Brazil, Germany, India, Japan, the UK, and the US.

This is the 12th year that this survey has been conducted, and the fourth year that it has included extensive questions on mental health.

This year’s survey was also conducted at a pivotal time when the Covid-19 pandemic has receded as a day-to-day concern for many people, but its legacy has embedded undeniable shifts in personal priorities and expectations around ways of working.

Gen Z refers to people born between the years 1997 and 2012, while ‘Millennials’ is the term used to define people born between the years 1981 and 1996.

Other major events have brought new challenges or heightened existing ones for this section of society across the globe, with the respondents’ top three societal concerns this year being the cost of living, unemployment, and climate change.

The report states that these cumulative issues are impacting the daily lives of Gen Zs and millennials, making their future more uncertain, and placing their mental well-being under continuous strain.

Stress and Anxiety

Over the past three years, this survey has provided valuable insight into the mental health of these generations. Our 2020 report, which was fielded in December 2019, painted a stark picture: one of high levels of stress and anxiety, even before the onset of the pandemic. This theme has continued ever since.

The 2023 report sees almost no change to the worryingly high levels of stress and anxiety seen in previous years, with close to half of Gen Zs (46%) and four in 10 millennials (39%) reporting that they feel stressed or anxious all or most of the time.

The report states, “We see a continuation in the trend of women reporting higher levels of stress and anxiety than men in both generations (54% versus 37% in Gen Zs, and 43% versus 35% in millennials). This trend is becoming increasingly pronounced among Gen Zs, with the gender gap growing from an 11 to a 17-point difference over the last three years.”

In contrast, the gender gap in millennial stress levels has remained relatively stable since 2020.

“In 2023, we see little change when it comes to levels of stress and anxiety. Nearly half of Gen Zs and four in 10 millennials feel stressed or anxious all or most of the time, with women and other under-represented groups most impacted,” the report said.

In line with the 2022 findings, the stigma around mental health remains. While there
is a general recognition that employers are improving their support, many employees are still not using the resources offered in their workplaces, and many are still not disclosing when they take time off work for mental health reasons.

The Contributors

For the first time, this year’s survey also examines how some generational factors may be driving poor mental health in Gen Zs and millennials.

Millennials, and to a slightly lesser extent Gen Zs, are reaching an age where they are more likely to have increased caretaking responsibilities. Just over a third of Gen Zs and about four in 10 millennials have daily or periodic caregiving responsibilities for both children and parents or elderly relatives. Among respondents with caretaking responsibilities, over 40% say it significantly impacts their mental health.

Impact of Social Media

The use of social media by younger generations could also be having an effect. Perhaps surprisingly, almost half of Gen Zs (48%) and millennials (49%) think social media has a positive impact on their mental health, yet 46% of Gen Zs said that social media makes them feel lonely and inadequate and 45% say that they feel under pressure to have an online presence.

With one in five (20%) Gen Zs spending five hours or more a day on video platforms alone, the struggle to disconnect goes well beyond the workplace.

Burnout on the rise

Linked to the results around work-related stress drivers, this year’s survey found increasingly high levels of burnout due to work pressures in Gen Zs (52% this year versus 46% in 2022) and millennials alike (49% versus 45%).

Using the World Health Organisation’s criteria for burnout, the survey this year asked respondents about specific feelings they experience while working. It found that 36% of Gen Zs feel exhausted all or most of the time, 35% feel mentally distanced from their work, and 42% often struggle to perform to the best of their ability. The numbers are nearly as high among millennials (respectively 30%, 28% and 40%).

The report goes on to emphasise that although burnout is complex and can have multiple causes and dimensions, employers can and should act to help mitigate this epidemic from spreading. With an increased understanding of what burnout is and how it manifests at work, more resources are becoming available to help address it at an individual and organisational level.

The report states, “These figures represent a wake-up call for business leaders to act decisively to mitigate burnout and its causes. This is all the more urgent as more than a third
of respondents, a higher proportion than last year, do not believe that their employer is currently taking steps to prevent employee burnout.”

Under-utilised services

While more employers are providing mental health-related support at work, these findings indicate that stigma around openly discussing and addressing mental health issues at work persists.

Many employers are either failing to provide support in the first place or failing to communicate the available resources. For example, only around six in 10 respondents said that they have access to supportive senior leaders, or sessions with their managers focused on well-being. And even fewer have access to resources such as digital tools or therapy. Three in 10 Gen Zs and just over two in 10 millennials are not offered, or are not aware of their access to, paid time off to manage their mental health.

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.

Share this story

Related Stories

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Indian Newslink

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement