Understanding the Silent Struggles: Stress and Burnout Among Gen Zs and Millennials

Posted September 22, 2023

Welcome to another enlightening episode where we delve into the pressing issues faced by the younger generations, Gen Z and Millennials. Some may wonder, "What could they possibly be stressed about? They have it easier than ever!" But today, I'm here to shed light on the hidden burdens that often go unnoticed.

Recent studies have shown that 46% of Gen Zs and 39% of Millennials experience chronic stress or anxiety. These alarming statistics were concerning even before the pandemic. As the pandemic unfolded, additional stressors emerged, including the cost-of-living crisis, geopolitical tensions, climate change, and job market uncertainties. Gen Zs and Millennials are also deeply concerned about their finances and the well-being of their friends and family, with 36% of Gen Zs feeling constantly exhausted, 35% feeling mentally disconnected from work, and 42% struggling to perform at their best. While Millennials fare slightly better, around 30% still face these challenges.

But it's not all bleak. About 70-75% of individuals in these generations are managing their mental health well, showcasing the progress we've made in addressing these issues. Interestingly, over half of both Gen Zs (57%) and Millennials (55%) believe their employers take mental health seriously, and they see positive changes resulting from this commitment. When considering a potential employer, 8 in 10 Gen Zs and Millennials prioritize mental health support and policies.

Now, let's dive into the mental health opportunities being offered:

  1. Vacation time/Paid time off: Millennials tend to rely on this option, but Gen Zs explore various resources available.
  2. Regular well-being catch-ups with managers: An essential aspect of maintaining mental health.
  3. Supportive senior leaders: Leadership plays a vital role in fostering a healthy workplace.
  4. Resources to reduce stress: These include tools and programs designed to alleviate stress.
  5. Access to mental health apps/digital services: Embracing technology for mental well-being.
  6. Designed meeting-free days: Providing breathing space in the workweek.
  7. Paid counseling/therapy: A crucial resource for those in need.

Work, however, is not the sole contributor to burnout. Many Gen Zs and Millennials find themselves caught in a caregiving sandwich, juggling responsibilities for both children and aging parents or relatives, taking a toll on their mental health. Shockingly, 39% of Millennials have caregiving responsibilities for both generations, and 4 in 10 admit that it significantly affects their mental well-being.

When asked to rank the impact of caregiving responsibilities on their mental state, they prioritized mental health, personal/family finances, and personal time for relaxation. These challenges paint a complex picture of the daily struggles these generations face.

So, what's the takeaway from all this data? It comes down to understanding your people, empathizing with their concerns, and providing the support they need. My challenge to you this week is to engage with your colleagues on a deeper level. Take a moment to truly connect by asking them about their interests and concerns, and find out what keeps them awake at night. By doing so, you may uncover ways to make a meaningful difference in their lives, all while fostering a more compassionate and supportive work environment.

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