Harvard Study Reveals Anxiety And Depression Rates Double In Young Adults

36 per cent of young adults in the survey reported experiencing anxiety, compared to 18 per cent of teenagers

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A recent report from Making Caring Common (MCC), a project of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, sheds light on a concerning trend in the United States. Young adults, aged 18 to 25, are reporting significantly higher rates of anxiety and depression than their teenage (14-17 years) counterparts. This revelation, outlined in the report titled "On Edge: Understanding and Preventing Young Adults’ Mental Health Challenges," presents a pressing concern that demands immediate attention and action.

The statistics are startling: 36 per cent of young adults in the survey reported experiencing anxiety, compared to 18 per cent of teenagers. Furthermore, 29 per cent of young adults reported symptoms of depression, as opposed to 15 per cent of teens. These findings underscore the urgency of addressing the mental health needs of young adults, a demographic often overlooked in favour of a focus on teenagers.

The report identifies several key drivers behind this mental health crisis:

1. A Lack of Meaning and Purpose: A striking 58 per cent of young adults expressed that they felt a lack of "meaning or purpose" in their lives in the previous month. Half of them confessed that their mental health was negatively affected by "not knowing what to do with my life." This existential crisis seems to be a significant contributor to their emotional challenges.

2. Financial Worries and Achievement Pressure: Over half of young adults reported that financial concerns (56 per cent) and the pressure to achieve (51 per cent) were negatively impacting their mental well-being. The struggle to make ends meet and the relentless pursuit of success are exacting a toll on their mental health.

3. A Perception of a World in Turmoil: The perception that "things are falling apart" troubled 45 per centof young adults, undermining their mental health. Global and societal issues are weighing heavily on this generation.

4. Relationship Deficits: Loneliness and a sense of not mattering to others affect 34 per cent and 44 per cent of young adults, respectively, further contributing to their emotional struggles.

5. Social and Political Concerns: Social and political issues are also a source of distress. Gun violence in schools, climate change, and concerns about the competence and integrity of political leaders were reported as negatively influencing the mental health of 42 per cent, 34 per cent, and 30 per cent of young adults, respectively.

The report's authors emphasize that young adults possess significant strengths that offer hope for improvement. Generation Z, in particular, displays heightened emotional awareness and is more open about mental health challenges than any previous generation. This could be a catalyst for breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health issues in the country.

To address the mental health crisis among young adults, the report suggests several strategies:

1. Cultivating Meaning and Purpose: Encouraging young people to find meaning and purpose in their lives, including through acts of caring for others and community service.

2. Building Fulfilling Relationships: Supporting young adults in developing meaningful and enduring relationships, as these connections can serve as a vital source of emotional support.

3. Redefining Success: Shifting the focus from achievement-based success to encouraging young adults to view their lives as more than the sum of their accomplishments.

The report calls for increased support and resources for young adults to address their mental health needs and prevention.


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