Generation Z and Mental Health: The Peacocks Weigh In

By Joey Caruso

Video by Joey Caruso

It’s no secret that Gen Z is playing a large part in the movement of making mental health a necessary discussion in overall well being.

In a 2020 survey conducted in New Jersey asking respondents if a health professional has diagnosed them with a depressive disorder, the percentage of adults aged 18-44 had the highest response rate out of any age group at 17.5%, an increase over their 2018 results of 11.1%.

We spoke to students who spoke candidly about their mental well being. Both attend Saint Peter’s University, a Jesuit university located in Jersey City, N.J.

Infographic by Joey Caruso

Stephanie Colon, a junior marketing management major at the university and a Jersey City  native, believes that her mental health is something that’s doing better, but it could use some work.

“I would try to [discuss my mental health with my friends], but I always felt like I was kind of a bummer,” Colon said.

Colon struggled with making friends when initially attending Saint Peter’s, but since then she’s been able to find friends and a boyfriend whom she discusses her mental health with.

Tiffany Mata, a freshman computer science major at the university, feels that she isn’t in a good place mentally. A variety of factors, including the passing of her little brother, contribute to her current mental state.

“My surroundings affect my mental health a lot,” Mata said. “When I’m at my house all the time it gets really bad, but if I’m with my friends and when I come to school, it gets better.”

When Mata is having a bad day mentally, she struggles to do her daily activities, including even her class assignments.

“It’s just really hard every day [that my mental health is bad],” Mata said.

When it comes to tips for bettering one’s mental health, both Colon and Mata have solid advice to offer those in need of some help. There are many different things one can do in order to help prioritize one’s mental health, and Colon and Mata offered some tips that they use in their day-to-day lives

“I usually journal,” Mata said. “I write everything down, and that helps me a lot.”

“Setting boundaries [is important],” Colon said. “It is so important to know your limits…I have this process where I self-soothe, and I take time to myself for a few days and then I come back.”

In an age where discussions on mental health are no longer considered taboo, Gen Z is spearheading the movement of discussing and prioritizing the importance of mental health.