The Mental Health Crisis Among Young Women: Why GenZ Women Are Suffering
Understanding Mental Health Crisis Among Young Women
Mental illness is a growing epidemic in America, with one out of every five Americans suffering from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. And yet mental health disorders are the least-funded and least-researched medical condition in our country. In spite of the fact that women have been told they’re “crazy” for centuries, we know that when they suffer from depression it’s twice as likely to go undiagnosed and untreated. The rates of mental illness among Gen Z women is at an all-time high, but it’s not because we have more anxiety or depression, it’s because we have better access to information about mental illness and the resources.
Mental illness is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and it affects millions of women each year. Women are twice as likely to experience depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia than men. Also Read: Why Do Young Girls Experience Depression More?
One demographic that’s been largely ignored is young women. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one in five young women aged 18-25 have depression. Another study found that one out of every four college students reported feeling numb or detached from their feelings, which are two symptoms that are indicators of depression. The mental health crisis among GenZ women is very real, and it needs to be addressed now more than ever before.
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Why are GenZ women more susceptible to mental health issues?
“Gen Zers have more pressure as compared to their predecessors,” says Dr Nandita Reddy, Chief Mental Health & Education Officer, Dabolim. “For Gen Z, there is more a sense of responsibility and want to make it big in the world in terms of job, social life, social media (Twitter and Instagram are a major influence) which is leading to a lot of stress,” says Reddy.
She adds, “they also face huge pressures of peer pressure which causes more stress than in earlier times. There is also this change of thinking where children think that they have to be famous in order to be successful.”
GenZ is always hooked up to their smartphones.
Why does this generation need so much more help than the generations before them?
They know it all: what they don’t know, they know how to find out answers to every question within minutes but the negative results are very evident on their minds. It’s much easier to say “I don’t need a doctor because my Google search has the solution to the problem”. For example, when I am 15-16, I am very confused about everything. Every single person I come across makes me feel worthless, but I don’t have the know-how or the know-how to make them see things from my perspective, to break the logjam and realize that I am not always right.
Society likes to magnify the strengths of women and it tries to emphasize that a woman has to be very confident and it will automatically enhance her life. However, it is a fallacy.
Free access to information leave the young mind vulnerable. They don’t know how to process the amount of information they consume on a daily basis.
The Gender Pay Gap and Mental Health
In the survey conducted by Pew, it was found that there is a huge gender pay gap, as women make only 72.3% of what men make. Mental health too is suffering from the lack of gender equality, the amount of stress that women deal with it is quite high.
Women are the ones who always face a lot of societal pressure, many do not opt for certain careers because of the violence faced by them while fighting for it. In that sense, the mental health crisis that we are seeing in the younger generation is basically because of the stress and lack of equality.
Having said that, the good thing is that more and more girls are opting for a career in science and technology, and it is helping bridge the pay gap that women face in the field of STEM which hopefully will trickle down to other sectors of the economy.
The Impact on Current Relationships
Mental health also disrupts the current relationships. In fact, if you have a mental health disorder, your ability to cope with other people’s depression, anxiety, or negativity is ten times lower.
The lack of strength makes you more aggressive and causes marital problems. People with mental illness are generally less sensitive to other people’s needs. It’s a vicious cycle since you’ve already diagnosed yourself as someone who’s ill.
Even worse is the impact on Children
All of the negative impact of mental health disorders on women is amplified in children. Young girls who grow up with a mother with mental health issues tend to become hyperactive, which can lead to depression or anxiety disorders later in life.
How can GenZ Women reduce their risk of developing mental health issues?
Factors that can trigger a mental illness:
- Lack of physical exercise
- Lack of sleep
- Stress and pressure
- Watching television and reading too many e-books
- Poor nutrition
- Family and social issues
Factors that can help reduce the risk of mental illness:
- Practice Yoga
- Play sport
- Exercise regularly
- Get adequate sleep
- Use positive psychology techniques
How can GenZ Women take care of their mental health?
If you want to reduce your chances of developing mental health issues, keep yourself aware of the above-mentioned symptoms and keep them under control. In case you need any medical help or care, seek out a therapist who is well versed in these conditions.
A Word of Encouragement for GenZ Women
The growth and independence that this generation has achieved is a huge thing. They have this drive to do things on their own and it makes them very independent. This high confidence and high drive make them do everything by themselves, right from getting married, raising kids, pursuing higher education, finding a job, starting a business and others.
Things have come a long way in GenZ, where the women have the power now to start a company and not shy away from it. They are not afraid to express their ideas, as a majority of them have never faced any sort of oppression in society. That is the power they hold today.
Anxiety disorder in females is definitely on a rise, and it’s so important to handle stress in a healthy way.
It’s important to identify the problems and take the necessary steps to deal with mental health as early as possible.
Dr Urvashi tells us that there are certain habits and practices that are definitely good practice for mental health. These include daily self-reflection and regular meditation. It is also important to know how to control and cope with stress and anxiety.
Healthy eating, a balanced routine, exercising regularly and managing your time efficiently, are also good practices. For the women who are overwhelmed with stress and the pressure of being a student or just a working woman, Dr Urvashi suggests that they talk it out, over coffee or exercise, to get the support that they need.
Also Read: 8 Struggles of a Married Woman