© 2024 WXPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Mental Health Crisis Among Gen Z Sparks Concern

Stock Rocket - stock.adobe.com

Mental health is a major issue for young people of Generation Z, people who were born after 1996, and research has found they report feeling emotionally distressed at more than three times the rate of Baby Boomers.

Deidra Burke, youth and young adult program manager for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said stigma around mental health issues is the biggest barrier to getting help, although conversations about it are becoming more prevalent.

"Now after the pandemic, it sort of normalized it," Burke observed. "Like hey, everyone can have a mental health condition. People started to see that youth also have these same issues. They have symptoms. They're having mental health conditions."

While there is less of a stigma now, Burke pointed out there is still much more work to do. She urged people to first speak to a trusted person in their life if they start to suspect mental health concerns.

Dr. Donald Tavakoli, national medical director of behavioral health for UnitedHealthcare, said as Gen Z-ers enter the workforce and become eligible for their own health care plans, it is important they understand the mental health coverage benefits they have. He has found many young people value virtual visits.

"Increasingly, health plans offer telehealth that can be in-network opportunities to support your mental health," Tavakoli noted. "It's important to find a health plan that offers those."

Even as the pandemic subsides, Burke added its effects will not go away, because it was such a traumatic event.

"Trauma lasts a lifetime," Burke emphasized. "A lot of these youths, this is like their fundamental development years. So this will last them their entire lives."

Eric Tegethoff is a journalist covering the Northwest. Eric has worked as a reporter for KBOO, XRAY FM, and Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland, Oregon, as well as other print and digital news media. In 2012, Eric traveled to North Dakota to write about the Bakken region oil boom. He's also worked at a movie theater, as a campaign canvasser and quality assurance at a milk packaging factory. Eric is originally from Orlando, Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida in 2010.
Up North Updates
* indicates required
Related Content