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The Bridge

The Student News Site of Bridgeland High School

The Bridge

The Student News Site of Bridgeland High School

The Bridge

Mental morality

Gen Z’s perspective on mental health

For centuries, scientists and psychologists have attempted to understand the core of the brain alongside humans themselves. However, still today many questions remain surrounding the science of the human mind. Not only is the science of the human mind itself constantly evolving, but society’s perception of that science is as well. Mental health and mental illness are one of the most talked about topics online, specifically for Gen Z. However, mental health hasn’t always been in the forefront of the media. What changed?

Mental Health and Illness

Today, mental health is one of the most discussed topics online (on TikTok, the hashtag “mental health” has been used roughly 67 billion times), and thus, it’s easy to confuse what mental health truly is as the perception of mental health is personalized to every individual. As defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act, and helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.” Simply defined, one’s mental health is essentially one’s mental space, and the quality of that mental space can have consequential effects on one’s life.

Additionally, one’s mental health can be influenced by both internal and external factors such as genetics or life experiences, and most notably, mental illnesses. SAMHSA defines mental illness as “[D]isorders, ranging from mild to severe, that affect a person’s thinking, mood, and/or behavior.” Mental disorders such as clinical depression and bipolar disorder can detrimentally influence one’s life in a variety of ways, notably one’s overall quality of life and physical health.

On social media apps such as TikTok and YouTube, it is very common to find videos discussing mental health, someone sharing experiences with a certain mental illness or even others offering advice to others who live with the same mental illnesses as them. While having more access to information and discussing mental health has been proven to aid individuals, this increased discussion of mental health results in misinformation spreading like wildfire. Misinformation, presented in a way in which it seems true, results in incorrect self diagnosis and false information being accepted. In terms of self diagnosis, this phenomenon is especially prevalent within Gen Z (those born from roughly 1997 to 2012) who reportedly make up 30% of the population who have self diagnosed themselves.

Social Media

The connection between mental health and social media goes without saying. However the way the topic of mental health is discussed online has shifted in the past years, especially in regard to the younger generation. While it is still somewhat a taboo subject, the topic of mental well-being is constantly discussed by Gen Z and as a whole the younger generation is very aware of mental health. For example, Gen Z is reportedly more likely than older generations to report mental health issues.

Specifically, Gen Z has a unique perspective on mental health that is dissimilar to older generations because their view of the topic is shaped around the technology and the resources available to them. The world today is tumultuous and full of anxiety, and technology gives Gen Z the opportunity to clearly see what surrounds them in the world. According to the American Psychological Association (APA): “More than nine in 10 Gen Z adults (91 percent) said they have experienced at least one physical or emotional symptom because of stress, such as feeling depressed or sad (58 percent) or lacking interest, motivation or energy (55 percent). Only half of all Gen Zs feel like they do enough to manage their stress.”


When one is surrounded by something every single day it’s difficult for that thing to not eventually become a part of who one fundamentally is as a person. However, how much do one’s mental disorders make one who they are? Oftentimes mental disorders never go away, but with proper treatment and support from others, their effects on one’s life can be greatly alleviated. For Gen Z, the discussion of mental health online ranges from darkly humorous to strictly informational. But, either way, much of this discourse likely stems from Gen Z attempting to cope with their personal lives, the world around them and ultimately discover their identities in the face of such confusing times. Getting through life is a challenge in itself, but doing so with the anxieties of the world or a mental disorder on one’s shoulders makes it even more painful. However, if Gen Z continues to openly talk about mental health and the importance of it, perhaps the generation can overcome life’s hurdles together.

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About the Contributor
Ella Oberle
Ella Oberle, Copy Editor / Feature Editor
Ella Oberle is a junior at Bridgeland High School, second-year newspaper staff member and the copy and feature editor of The Bridge for the 2023-2024 school year. She typically spends her spare time listening to music or reading, though struggles to have free time as a third-year member of the color guard and choir programs. While she’s currently unsure what career she would like to pursue, she enjoys writing alongside learning about history and psychology.

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