Millions of Gen Zers are struggling with mental health problems, according to a new survey, which reveals many of these problems were first identified during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is further evidence of the serious health consequences caused by the social-distancing measures taken in response to the virus.
Generation Z is the third-largest population in America, after millennials and baby boomers. While Zoomers are often singled out for praise by the corporate media for racial and sexual diversity, it’s also becoming clear many of them are suffering mental health issues to a far greater degree than earlier generations.
The survey was carried out by Harmony Healthcare IT, an Indiana-based data-management company. Just over 1000 individuals aged 18 to 24, with a roughly equal gender balance, were asked a range of detailed questions about their mental health.
Forty-two percent of those surveyed said they were suffering from a diagnosed mental-health problem, with 25 percent saying their diagnosis took place during the pandemic. Anxiety, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and bulimia were just some of the conditions the respondents reported. By comparison with millennials or Gen X-ers, Zoomers are twice as likely to report struggling with emotional distress on a daily basis.
Near 70 percent said that they felt the pandemic had a negative effect on their mental health. Zoomers appear to be deeply anxious, with 85 percent saying they were worried about the future. Nine out of ten Zoomers diagnosed with a mental-health issue have anxiety and eight out of ten suffer from depression.
Particular concerns for Zoomers include personal finances, the economy, their health, the environment, politics, and the workplace. Three-quarters of Zoomers say they feel disadvantaged by comparison with older generations, and 90 percent have a hard time picturing a stable future for themselves.
Twenty percent of the study participants said they have a regular therapist, while 57 percent take regular medication and 39 percent attend therapy for mental health issues at least once a week.
The study is further evidence that the pandemic – in particular the social-distancing measures adopted by most governments around the world – had serious adverse consequences for the young that far outstrip any damage they might have suffered from contracting the virus.
Other studies have already substantiated the mental effects of isolation and exposure to fear and uncertainty about the virus’s effects. A meta-analysis from the University of Calgary suggested that as many as one in four children worldwide are now suffering from depression and anxiety as a result of the pandemic.
These unintended effects have not just been psychological. A recent study showed children are exercising less and spending more time sitting down than ever before as a result of the pandemic. Researchers at the University of Bristol revealed that fewer than four out of 10 children were doing sufficient daily exercise at the end of 2021. Obesity rates have risen at a “staggering” pace, according to the American CDC.
The restrictions are even believed to have affected babies in the womb. A study based on a review of 250 babies born in New York between March and December 2020 suggested that the pandemic had serious adverse developmental effects on newborns, even if the mother had not had COVID-19 during the pregnancy. The researchers believe that increased maternal stress during pregnancy may be to blame, as well as reduced interactions with other infants and more stressful interactions with parents and caregivers.
It looks like the effects of the pandemic and the overzealous responses of government “experts” will continue to ramify through the increasingly unhappy lives of our younger generations, long after COVID-19 itself becomes a distant memory.