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Gen Z has been at the forefront of highlighting the importance of mental health. As a result, a cultural tide has shifted from shame and stigma around mental health to an increase in tolerance, acceptance, and support. If you live in the Midwest, this blog will share where you can find mental health support for Gen Z.
A core part of late adolescence and young adulthood is the exciting discovery: Who are you? What are your interests? Passions? Scope of possibility? What are your dreams compared to the dreams that your family or community may have had for you? What challenges have you faced that inspire you to learn and grow and make the world a better place?
The pursuit of these questions can impact the direction you decide to take in life. And there are challenges specific to the mental health of Gen Z. However, with proper support and resources, these challenges can be turned into triumph, development, discovery, and growth.
Mental Health Challenges
Gen Z is the first generation to grow up with the internet as a common daily occurrence. Since early childhood, Gen Zers have had to face the downsides of constant connectivity. While many wonderful things have emerged as a result of technology, our society is learning through Gen Z the toll that constant connectivity has on mental health.
The Impact of Social Media
Research has shown that excessive social media use has led to increased depression, anxiety, and an increase in suicide attempts.
As humans, we are social creatures. We rely on feedback that we receive from others to help us navigate our place in the world. To a degree, comparison to others can be a natural and beneficial way to find our own path. For example, we see what we like and aim to be that. We see what we do not like and aim to avoid that.
However, the comparison that occurs through social media is a skewed version of reality. For example, online anyone can select one of countless images that are then edited and filtered to represent only a sliver of reality. You then compare yourself to an ideal version of someone, not the real and full picture of their life. As a result, you may feel bad about yourself since you know your whole experience, but you are comparing it against another’s highlight reel.
Challenges in Knowing Yourself
Additionally, through the pressures of social media, you might feel compelled to represent a version of yourself to the world that only captures your highlights. You might fear that showing the whole version of yourself might lead to rejection and criticism. This carefully selected expression may make it challenging for you to know who you really are.
In the new technological era, attention is the primary currency. Some of the smartest scientists in the world have created tactics to harness your attention. As a result, you might feel strong compulsive urges to check your notifications multiple times per hour. This constant checking can be addictive and can distract you from placing your attention on intentionally selected things that provide a benefit for your life. The consumption of short, attention-grabbing content can feel compelling but can take a toll on your attention span and your mood. As a result, you might experience decreased motivation.
Cyberbullying is prevalent in a world where people do not have to directly experience the impact of their behavior. In face-to-face interactions, a bully may be more apt to feel guilt or shame when they see the impact of their behavior. Additionally, in person, a bully may have concerns for their own safety if you retaliate to their bullying.
However, online, this face-to-face impact is lost. A cyberbully is less apt to feel guilt and isn’t bound by fear of physical retaliation. Online there is an increase in psychologically aggressive behavior that can be toxic and psychologically abusive.
Finding Purpose in a World Without Direction
Growing up with endless information at the tips of your fingers has its perks. However, to find a purpose, you need direction. The seemingly infinite information available to Gen Z can lead to difficulty in finding direction because there are so many paths available.
Growing Up in Divisive Times
Gen Z has come into adulthood in a world that has been ripe with conflict. Between a global pandemic, economic uncertainty, political instability, and culture wars, Gen Z has grown up navigating a tremendous amount of stress and uncertainty.
Barriers to Mental Health
The Midwest is known for its vast rural areas, filled with numerous small towns. In many of these rural places, it may not be easy to access healthcare. It may be that it is difficult for you and your family to travel to seek mental health services. It may also be the case that there is a shortage of mental health providers in your region.
The costs of mental health services may be a barrier to receiving services. Young people are often at the start of their careers, and many insurance providers do not offer mental health services as part of their coverage. With therapy costs ranging on average from $100 to $200 for a 50-minute session, mental health services may not be affordable for many young adults.
Although Gen Z has been a significant force in reducing the stigma around mental health, some sense of shame may linger in certain communities and within certain families. Some rural areas that may be more traditional in their values may consider mental health struggles to be shameful, taboo, or a sign of moral weakness.
Where To Find Help
Many communities across the Midwest have recognized the need for mental health services and have responded with local community programs. You can find more information on programs in your local community by reaching out to a local community center, as well as schools, colleges, and universities in your area. Some religious organizations may host mental health workshops or direct you to affordable mental healthcare in your area.
In this current era of technology, several teletherapy options have become available. For example, there is BetterHelp and Talkspace. A benefit of teletherapy is that it removes the geographic barriers that might exist for those who live in more remote locations. Additionally, there is privacy and anonymity associated with online platforms since you do not have to go into an office. Therapy sessions can take place through video calls, chats, and phone sessions.
Many colleges and universities offer counseling sessions to their students. There may be a waitlist for these sessions, so it’s good to inquire early about this option with your school. Additionally, many campuses offer student-led mental health clubs and support groups.
Mental Health Support on Social Media
Gen Z has created safe spaces within social media platforms to provide peer-based mental health support. Through platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, many have raised awareness about mental health by creating profiles, pages, and channels where users can share stories and connect with others facing similar situations.
Free Peer Support
There are several free support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, Ala-teen, and Adult Children of Alcoholics. These programs are peer-led and they are free. Some of the programs are intended for people who struggle with addiction, while others support the family members and friends of people who have an addiction or mental illness. If these meetings are not available in your local area, there are anonymous, free phone meetings around the clock for each of these groups.
Sliding Scale Services
When you inquire about therapy services, ask if there is a sliding scale option available. Many private therapists, as well as community-based organizations, offer a sliding scale to those having trouble paying for sessions.
You Are Not Alone
Gen Z is characterized by the values of innovation, activism, awareness, and acceptance. As a result, there are many resources in the Midwest supporting the mental well-being of Gen Zers. From community resources, online therapy platforms, and peer support groups, Midwest youth mental health support is available. You are not alone, and your mental health is important.
Mental Health Resources In the Midwest
Discover a wide range of mental health resources available in the Midwest region. No matter which state you reside in, you’ll find national and local mental health associations dedicated to providing the support and assistance you need.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness, Iowa
- Your Life Iowa
- State of Iowa Department of Health & Human Services
- National Alliance on Mental Illness, Kansas
- Kansas Mental Health Coalition
- Kansas Suicide Prevention Resource Center
- National Alliance on Mental Illness, Minnesota
- Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services
- Canvas Health
- National Alliance on Mental Illness, Missouri
- Mental Health America of Eastern Missouri
- BJC Behavioral Health
- National Alliance on Mental Illness, Nebraska
- Region 6 Behavioral Health
- The Mental Health Association of Nebraska
- National Alliance on Mental Illness, North Dakota
- Mental Health America of North Dakota
- State of North Dakota Mental Health Resource
- National Alliance on Mental Illness, South Dakota
- South Dakota Helpline Center
- South Dakota Network Against Family Violence & Sexual Assault
- National Alliance on Mental Illness, Wisconsin
- Wisconsin Family Ties
- Mental Health America of Wisconsin
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