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Mental Health Awareness Across Different Generations

In the traces of human life experience, mental health is a thread that runs through all generations. However, its perception varies vastly throughout age groups. Our knowledge of and methods for addressing mental health issues change along with society.

an illustration of different kinds o fgenerations - Image by MacroVector on Freepik
Image by MacroVector on Freepik

Table of Contents


Exploring how different generations perceive mental health provides useful insight into cultural attitudes, stigmas, and the evolving discourse surrounding psychological well-being.


Setting up a table with each generation and year of birth is necessary to fully explore this subject because the experiences that shaped each generation’s view on mental health are profound.


Generation Table: Perception of Mental Health ((Ferdi et al)

Generation

Birth Years

Perception of Mental Health

Silent Generation

1928-1945

Stoic resilience, stigma

Baby Boomers

1946-1964

Emerging recognition, stigma

Generation X

1965-1980

Increasing awareness, seeking solutions

Millennials

1981-1996

Vocal advocacy, prioritizing self-care

Generation Z

1997-2012

Digital natives, destigmatization

Generation Alpha

2013-2024

Endowed, technologically savvy

 

Mental Health Awareness in Silent Generation


an 80 years old man looking straight to camera close up. Image by Freepik
Image by Freepik

The generation known as "the silent generation," which was born during World War II and the Great Depression that followed, is a symbol of resilience and determination. Their upbringing was characterized by a general attitude that personal troubles should be kept hidden, making discussion about mental health typically frowned upon.


Therapy was uncommon, and seeking help for mental health issues was frequently stigmatized. As Dr. Patrick Arbore, Director of the Center for Elderly Suicide Prevention, aptly puts it, “The Silent Generation is sometimes called silent because they were taught to keep problems to themselves.” (Arbore, 2021).


A common misconception about the Silent Generation is that they were conformists who lacked the revolutionary energy of their predecessors. This simplistic representation ignores the important social movements and transformations that they saw and, in many cases, actively took part in, such as the feminist and civil rights campaigns.


Another piece of general knowledge is that the "Silent Generation" has difficulty adapting to technology and is frequently referred to as "technology illiterate," implying that they are out of touch with the modern era. However, a large number of people in today's world have used technology in some capacity, proving that the myth of technical illiteracy is false.


Moreover, the Silent Generation is frequently characterized as being inflexible, conservative, and prone to rejecting change, in contrast to the actions of the Baby Boomers. Even though this generational group consists of some conservative individuals, it is important to understand the various viewpoints and experiences that this generation has gone through.


The complexity of the Silent Generation has been made more apparent in recent years by media portrayals. A film, directed by Martin Scorsese "The Irishman", presents complex portraits of stigmas of this generation, emphasizing their challenges, achievements, and social contributions.


 

Mental Health Awareness in Baby Boomers


a couple from generation of baby boomer playing with an analog camera on a sofa - Image by Freepik
Image by Freepik

The baby boomers are defined are those born between the years of 1946 to 1964. They are a stereotyped generation that has long been linked to negative expectations and prejudices. This generation, which is well-known for its size, economic growth, and cultural influence, has come under fire and misinterpretation for showing off experiences and achievements that are otherwise exceedingly hard to achieve and for putting little thought into them.


The Baby Boomer generation is known for their tendency to voice opinions and be resistant to change. They are frequently described by critics as being unreceptive to current society standards, holding fast to traditional beliefs, and being averse to technical improvements. However, this simple description ignores the fact that a large number of the Baby Boomer age have advanced technology and made significant contributions to its advancement.


According to Dr. Gail Saltz, Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry, the Baby Boomer generation grew up during a time when mental health issues were becoming more widely accepted, but misconceptions about mental health issues maintained strongly.


The perception that there is social inequality in this age, with some groups having a higher financial standing than others, is yet another fabrication about them. While the Baby Boomer generation enjoys relative economic growth, it is nevertheless critical to examine the causes of existing current societal issues.


Apart from that, this generation is sometimes criticized due to the belief that it has had a major negative effect on environmental issues. Ecological damage has been attributed by critics to their consumption practices and lack of environmental consciousness. Many Baby Boomers have been vocal supporters of sustainability and conservation initiatives. It’s crucial to recognize that environmental consciousness crosses generational boundaries.


The media and popular culture have both reinforced and contested the stigmas associated with Baby Boomers in recent years. With their complex depictions that go beyond clichés, television programs like “Boomers” and “The Kominsky Method” have shown Baby Boomers struggling with ageing, relationships, and societal changes. In addition, well-known Baby Boomer personalities like Angela Merkel, Oprah Winfrey, and Barack Obama continue to create the future and impact worldwide conversation.


Acknowledging the diversity, complexity, and continuing contributions of the Baby Boomer generation to society is essential to eradicating the stigma associated with them. By recognizing the diverse experiences and accomplishments of Baby Boomers, rather than giving in to simplistic caricatures, we may encourage inclusivity and intergenerational understanding.

 


Mental Health Awareness in Generation X


4 groups of professionals wearing suits in a balcony of high tall building complex being excited and looking motivated to work - Image by jcomp of Freepik
Image by jcomp of Freepik

Generation X refers to those born between 1965 and 1980. This generation, which falls between the post-Baby Boomer and pre-Millennial populations, has been misrepresented inaccurately by clichés that do not adequately capture the various experiences and accomplishments that this generation has made.


One of the misconceptions that is frequently linked with Generation X is the belief that they are a sluggish generation or that they lack desire and motivation. This straightforward explanation proves to be ineffective and even negative, putting pressure on a generation that faces societal challenges and economic difficulties which impact career paths and attitudes toward employment.


Another misconception is the widespread belief that people in Generation X are a generation that does not completely understand technology or are hesitant about accepting change. However, a lot of people of this generation have welcomed and adjusted to these advancements in both their personal and professional lives, having grown up with personal computers and the internet.


Furthermore, this generation has been characterized as dull or depressing, particularly in contrast to the optimism of Baby Boomers. However, this generation has shown itself to be determined and adaptable in adjusting to social changes like globalization and cultural upheaval.


Nowadays, more complex depictions of Generation X are available in the media, challenging these preconceived notions. Television programs such as "Friends" and "The X-Files" portray individuals related to this generation battling different obstacles in life, demonstrating their complexity beyond basic clichés.


In short, myths that undervalue the variety of experiences and contributions that members of Generation X have to offer are the cause of the stigma attached to them. By questioning these preconceived notions and recognizing their adaptability, resilience, and distinct viewpoints, we may cultivate a broader, more inclusive comprehension of this generation.

 


Mental Health Awareness in Millennials


5 friends wearing casual clothings and wearing headphones in the style of 90-00s - Image by tirachardz
Image by tirachards

Millennials, or those born between 1981 and 1996, are often the focus of unfair stigmas and stereotypes that minimize their diverse backgrounds and contributions to society.


Misconceptions that don't fully convey their complexity have been encountered by this generation. Their adept use of technology and a strong sense of social responsibility make them stand out.


Millennials are sometimes stereotyped as lazy people who lack motivation and lack of strong work ethic. This stereotypical view ignores the financial challenges and uncertainties that many Millennials have faced, such as debt from student loans, stagnating incomes, and a competitive job market, which affects their career trajectories and financial decisions.


Another common misconception is that because of their propensity for social media and self-expression, Millennials are seen to be narcissistic and self-absorbed. But this generation has also proven to have a strong sense of social responsibility, supporting causes such as racial justice, and climate change.


Furthermore, Millennials have come under fire for their dependence on social media and technology; some have even gone so far as to call them digital junkies or alienated from the real world. However, Millennials have also used technology for good, making use of social media sites for networking, community development, and advocacy.


These presumptions are starting to be contested by more realistic depictions of Millennials in the media. Millennial characters are portrayed in TV series such as "Master of None" and "Insecure" as they navigate the challenges of their careers, relationships, and identities. These shows highlight the complexity of their experiences beyond simplistic clichés.


To sum up, the negative perception of Millennials originates from misunderstandings that do not fully account for their varied viewpoints and accomplishments. We can promote a more accepting view of this generation by dispelling these myths and recognizing their social consciousness, resilience, and technical fluency.

 

Mental Health Awareness in Generation Z


a group of girl friends laying on a bed together fixated on their mobile phones - Image by Freepik
Image by Freepik

Greetings from the Generation Z era. This group, which was generally born between 1997 and 2012, is known for its social consciousness, entrepreneurial energy, and digital proficiency. Let us investigate this generation's distinctive characteristics and the changes they are bringing about in our world as we traverse their difficult issues.


Generation Z, sometimes referred to as Zoomers or Gen Z, is frequently praised for its adeptness with technology and ease of navigating the digital world. They set themselves apart from other generations in that they have a natural knack for technology, having grown up in an era of cell phones, social media, and immediate access to information.


However, Gen Z is more than just people who post selfies and browse on social media. This generation is motivated by activism and purpose; they use the forums provided by the internet to raise awareness of important issues, promote social justice, and effect real change.


Gen Z is leading the charge on today's most important issues, from climate advocacy to other outstanding issues, using their digital expertise to inspire communities and spur collective action.


The entrepreneurial mindset of Generation Z is one of their unique characteristics. Driven by a yearning for independence and creativity, they're not waiting for opportunities to present themselves — they're making them.


Gen Z is changing the definition of what it means to achieve success on one's own, whether it be through starting their own e-commerce companies or making money off of independent businesses on websites like YouTube and TikTok.


However, it's not just about perseverance and technological skill. Furthermore, Gen Z is questioning antiquated prejudices and redefining cultural standards. Emphasizing authenticity, diversity, and inclusivity, they are pushing boundaries and demanding representation in a range of industries, including politics, fashion, and entertainment.


The impact of Generation Z on the entertainment industry is obvious. They're altering how we consume media and influencing culture, as seen by the rising popularity of TikTok stars and the appeal of Gen Z-driven programming on streaming services.


Let us celebrate Generation Z's innovation, resilience, and unshakable commitment to making the world a better place. Despite their youth, they have made a significant influence, and as a result, the future appears more promising.


Mental Health Awareness in Generation Alpha


a small boy focused on watching a video on his phone - Image by Shashank Verma
Image by Shashank Verma

Generation Alpha is a technologically savvy generation that has shaped the educational environment in the digital age by integrating electronics seamlessly. These bright young things, who were born between 2013 and 2024, are redefining traditional learning environments by skillfully fusing technology and hands-on activities.


The understanding of mental health among Generation Alpha is gaining prominence as screens become their access to the outside world. With 42% of students using platforms like TikTok as the third most popular source for self-directed learning—beyond parental influence at 39%—they have transcended the status of simply entertainment. The digital learning habits of Generation Z, their predecessors, are reflected in this trend.


Due to Generation Alpha's unparalleled access to information, the internet's widespread use further democratizes knowledge. According to projections, their economic influence will exceed US$5.46 trillion by 2029, thus companies need to reassess their marketing plans to appeal to this generation of tech-savvy customers.


Despite the advantages of growing up in the digital age, Generation Alpha has significant difficulties, especially concerning mental health. However, their globalized society also offers resources for encouraging communication and assistance. As this generation ages, the convergence of technology and mental health consciousness reveals an emotionally robust and economically influential group.


The experiences of Generation Alpha mark not only a digital revolution but also a paradigm-shifting period in which technology serves as a stimulant for both mental and economic well-being.


In Conclusion,

The societal norms, historical occurrences, and technical advancements that shaped the formative years of each generation have an inherent connection to their view of mental health. Even though there is less stigma associated with mental health illnesses now, more work has to be done to promote acceptance and support for individuals of all ages.


Since our society is constantly evolving, it is imperative that we comprehend and value the diverse perspectives that each generation contributes to the conversation when it comes to mental health.


Written by Hana Angela

Edited by Virginia Helzainka



References:


Ansari, A. (Creator). 2015-2017. Master of None [TV Series]. Universal Television.


Arbore, Patrick, D. R. 2021. Center for Elderly Suicide Prevention. IOA.


Banfield, R., Bradshaw, P. (Director). 2019. Boomers [TV Series]. Hat Trick Production.


Becker, S., E., Cline, H., Dickinson, J. 2020. Baby Boomer Knowledge and Stigma toward Aging in Place and Residential Assistive Devices. Sage Journals. 45(3).


Henger, B., Henger, J. 2012. The Silent Generation. Bloomington: AuthorHouseTM. 


Howe, N. Strauss, W. 1991. Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069. Michigan: Morrow.


Howe, N., Strauss, W. 2000. Millenials Rising: The Next Great Generation. United States: Vintage Original.


Lorber, M. (Director). 2018-2021. The Kominsky Method [TV Series]. Warner Bros, Television.


Stillman, D., Stillman, J. 2017. Gen Z @ Work: How the Next Generation Is Transforming the Workplace. New York: HarperCollins.


Twenge, J., Ph., D. 2017. iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy – and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood – and What That Means for the Rest of Us. New York: Atria Books.



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