How Can Brands Tackle the Youth Mental Health Crisis?

Gen Z are not only key consumers of your brand, but they’re the future of your workplace, the next world leaders, and the upcoming decision-makers. And right now, they’re suffering from a mental health crisis. From inflation to pandemics, they’ve experienced a lot in the past few years. And it’s up to us, and brands and youth marketers, to invest time, money, and effort into ensuring that they can be the best ‘them’ possible.

Whether it’s marketing your brand or working alongside them in the office, we all have a responsibility to guide and support this long cohort. A recent report by Student Beans’ insights agency Voxburner, entitled Breaking Point | Gen Z’s Mental Health Crisis, explores the issues that Gen Zers are facing and shares how brands and employers should be interacting with them.

In this blog, we ask how Gen Zers are really feeling and answer the all-important question: How can brands tackle the youth mental crisis?

How is Gen Z’s emotional and mental health?

We don’t want to get your hopes up: this is pretty bleak reading. Student Beans’ research revealed that a significant 46% of Gen Z consider themselves to have a mental health condition, and 4% of young people from the UK (5% from the US) admitted to feeling very low. The most popular words that our survey respondents used to describe their generation were: confused, f*cked, stressed, progressive, sad, and tired.

When broken down by gender, those who identify as female appear to be suffering from poor mental health more than those who identify as male: in the UK, 53% of females consider themselves to have a mental health condition versus 39% of men.

But it’s not all bad! Gen Zers are more aware of themselves and their issues than any other generation, and as a result, are more willing to discuss their problems with friends and families. And, as we well know, talking about emotional or mental health issues is the first step to overcoming them.

What issues are Gen Z facing? 

In the report, survey respondents were asked what issues they’re struggling with at the moment, and the biggest issue won’t take anyone by surprise:

  1. 60% finances 
  2. 49% career/education 
  3. 49% mental health 
  4. 44% relationships 
  5. 40% physical health 
  6. 12% personal safety 

Only 4% of respondents said they weren’t experiencing any issues.

Gen Z women talking

Interestingly, self-diagnosis is a common theme amongst young people – in part, thanks to social media platforms such as TikTok. 30% of young people in the UK haven’t received a professional mental health diagnosis compared to the 36% who have received one. 18% have seen a mental health practitioner for a diagnosis, and 16% have received one from a licensed therapist or counsellor.

How are Gen Zers seeking help for their mental health concerns?

In the UK, only 13% of survey respondents said they’re currently engaging in professional counselling and/or therapy, whilst 33% said they’ve attended in the past. Perhaps surprisingly, 54% of Gen Z never have sought the help of a mental health professional. When broken down by gender, males and females seem to have a similar approach to therapy, with 58% of UK males and 52% of UK females having never attended counselling/therapy.

Meanwhile, in the US, data is similar: 16% of Gen Z respondents are currently seeking professional help, 36% previously have and 49% never have. And in terms of receiving mental health support? In the US, 81% have engaged in in-person sessions, 41% with video calls, 28% online, 21% via telephone calls and 9% have used self-help resources.

How can brands tackle the youth mental health crisis?

Research revealed that a significant 64% of Gen Z believe that brands should make mental health part of their mission statement, with 43% stating that brands should work with mental health creators.

With their widespread reach and influence, brands should be promoting positive messages, debunking beauty standards, and challenging harmful stereotypes. But this is easier said than done. In the report, we explore how brands can best tackle the poor mental health of this young generation. Check out a few key takeaways below.

Gen Z women laughing and smiling

How can brands best support young people? 

  1. Showing more diversity in marketing
  2. Checking in on your customers
  3. Providing help and resources, including signposting to mental health services
  4. Destigmatizing mental health issues by normalising language and discussions
  5. Promoting awareness and education
  6. Offering advice (guided by professionals) on social media

By recognising the unique challenges faced by this generation and actively working towards providing support, we can create a healthier and more resilient future for Gen Z. The wellbeing of young adults should be a shared responsibility, and by stepping up to support them, brands can make a positive and lasting impact on the mental health of young consumers.

Like what you’ve read? Download your free Breaking Point | Gen Z’s Mental Health Crisis teaser now.

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