The Mental Health Crisis Worsens

Mental disorders continue to rise, and Gen Z is suffering most.

The latest: New studies from The Lancet Psychiatry and Blue Shield of CA reveal sobering stats about the state of mental health around the world.

  • 50% of people will develop at least one mental disorder in their lifetime.
  • 87% of Gen Z youth say they struggle with mental health.
  • Top reported disorders are depression, anxiety, phobia, and PTSD.

Coming of age. According to WHO data, mental disorders most commonly arise in childhood, adolescence, or young adulthood — making the formative years primetime for intervention.

Citing issues like gun violence, social injustice, climate change, and job availability as major sources of stress, Gen Z is searching for healthy ways to cope.

  • A quarter of young people turn to social media for mental health support.
  • 35% of Gen Zers engage in self-help habits like meditation and exercise, while 93% practice self-care through music and entertainment.
  • And while 22% of young people had tried therapy, 61% reported barriers to access.

Mental Burden

At the crux of the crisis is a nationwide struggle to meet demand for treatment.

  • Equal coverage for physical and behavioral health was made mandatory by federal law in 2008, but Department of Labor data shows insurers aren’t cooperating.
  • The psychiatrist shortage could reach 31K by next year, per Psychiatric Services — leaving 160M+ Americans without access to professional help.
  • Nearly 50% of mental health providers don’t accept insurance, a stat largely attributed to low reimbursement rates.

Making matters worse, mental illness in America is akin to a jail sentence, with sufferers 10x more likely to be incarcerated than treated. And even with fast-tracked CBT counselors, psychedelics, and digital therapeutics in the mix, there’s no guaranteed solution in sight.

Punchline: The scope of the mental health crisis is beyond the ability of a single sector to solve. Unwinding the cycle will require government, healthcare, Big Tech, and more to work together on upstream interventions, paying special care to prevention among young people.

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