People of this generation are no longer seeking a way out of their depression. The long way the world has come to validate emotions in effort to help prevent loneliness and neglect, has started to backfire. The issue strives from the normalization and romanization of depression being insufficiently discussed. It is an overlooked issue due to the unexpectancy of a good deed to go from helping, to harming those struggling.
According to various sources, we are currently facing a Global Health Crisis with exceedingly high cases of depression around the world. Majority of those dealing with a mental health crisis are from the GenZ generation. 90% have experienced symptoms that are responses to mental stress and a fourth of the generation has had emotional distress, double the amount in other generations. 60% of those with depression do not seek professional help for their depression. It is suggested that the cause is regularly the result of the toxic masculinity culture society has cultivated in the minds of young men, the insufficient funds to support themselves or the fear of feeling misunderstood.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of cases rose and people had more time to educate themselves and others on social issues. Topics surrounding racism, unemployment, and mental health sparked discussion on various platforms with anonymous interactions. The anonymity of it allowed people to express themselves without worry of perception: it was a moment when the world was on the same page. Social circles were formed as a result of people finding empathy with common topics of discussion, therefore leading to a better liking of their situation then. As a result, the world has become attentive to the stigma created around depression by no longer looking down upon it in a distanced manner, but demonstrating acknowledgement. The validation and comfort of knowing there are people facing the same struggles, and that the world has adapted for those who face depression, made it appear more efficient than fighting for a way out. Embracement became a widely used coping mechanism for fluctuations of satisfaction and temporary contempt with their lifestyle. It is convincing that once depression leaves someone’s life, the care and prioritization they receive would no longer exist.
The new reputation of depression today strives from its approach on social media. It will always be a big contributor to conflicting mental health due to the fast pace of societal trends and the facilitated communication. Another general coping mechanism used in this generation for past traumas is humor, which creates “relatable” content for people to consume. Its popularity continuously grows and the audience strives to relate to a widely enjoyed post together with attempting to create their own. Although getting rid of the stigma and detachment of those with depression was a step forward in relieving society from this crisis, we begin to face this issue at hand.
Pinpointing the solution to the problem is difficult, especially since society must continue to create an environment where emotional expression is normalized. Allowing open conversation about shared struggles eliminates the alienation aspect of the illness. In this decade, those going through rough times deserve that preventative measure now knowing how to do so. The next step could be riding the stigma of the use of therapy for prevention and not solely treatment.