scorecardAre GenZ women suffering more from mental health issues?
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Are GenZ women suffering more from mental health issues?

Are GenZ women suffering more from mental health issues?
LifeScience5 min read
Representative image    Pixabay
Trigger Warning: Some may feel that the following content is disturbing.

  • A UNICEF report reveals that around 14% of young people aged between 15-25 years or 1 out of 7 people often feel depressed or face some mental health related issues in India.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has hit harder on young people and adolescents, as half of them reported that they or someone in their family had lost a job or taken a cut in pay.
  • Women who suffer from mental health issues are more likely to invite other diseases, especially problems related to fertility and menstruation.
  • Business Insider spoke to senior psychiatrist Dr. Jyoti Kapoor to gain some perspective on this issue.

A 21-year old girl, who recently graduated from Delhi University, says she has been facing anxiety issues for the last four years. The girl, who wanted to remain anonymous because of privacy concerns, suffered from massive anxiety issues for the first time when she had to appear for her board exams in class 12.

Now, she has graduated from her college and is still thinking about what career path to choose. She says, “Whenever someone asks me about my future plans, I start panicking because I’ve nothing to tell. I graduated during the pandemic and I’m still undecided about my career.”

It is not only students or fresh graduates who go through periods of anxiety and depression. More and more women, especially from Generation Z — persons born in the mid-to-late 1990s — seem to be open about their mental health concerns.

Radhika Gupta, a 23-year old woman from Delhi, who has her own business of handicraft products shares her mental health journey with Business Insider.

“Whether you do a 9-5 job or you start your own company, the professional world comes handy with overthinking, stress, tension and whatnot. It’s like I’m already so used to this habit of overthinking and [being] tense all the time, that now I don’t feel like it's a problem anymore,” says Gupta.

She highlights some major issues that she faces on an everyday basis because of her gender. “I have given my number on my Instagram page named ‘Handflys’ for customers who want to place an order for my products. And, on an everyday basis, I receive inappropriate messages and calls. I ignore this most of the time, but sometimes I’m so tense and can’t stop thinking about it.”

Another 25-year old woman, a public relations specialist who recently got married, spoke to Business Insider on the condition of anonymity. She talks about how unmanageable her life has become after getting married. She has to manage her work as well as her home — cook meals and take care of her new in-laws.

She says, “I wake up at 6 in the morning and I don’t know where all my time goes. I start my office work at 9 a.m., and before that I’m responsible for making breakfast for everybody. I even have to take several breaks in between my office hours as I have to cook lunch and dinner as well. Sometimes it becomes unmanageable for me to handle both the things, I often feel like quitting my job as I don’t have time for myself or do something that makes me feel happy.”

According to a report, dated October 5, 2021, by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), around 14% of young people aged between 15-25 years or 1 out of 7 people often feel depressed or face some mental health-related issues in India.

And also, children of this group in India have been more resistant in seeking support for these issues, as per the report. People who face these issues, also find themselves distracted or uninterested most of the time, the report says.

The report also notes that as the COVID-19 pandemic heads into its third year, the impact on children and young people's mental health continues to weigh heavily. The reason behind this has a lot of key driving factors.

As per the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, even before the pandemic, at least 50 million children in India were affected with mental health issues and 80-90% of them have not even sought professional support.

Another report by Pew Research Center highlighted that the pandemic has hit harder on young people and adolescents, as half of them reported that they or someone in their family had lost a job or taken a cut in pay, and also most of them haven’t yet established their careers and they’ll likely have a harder time getting back on track.

To have a better understanding and gain some perspective, Business Insider spoke to Dr. Jyoti Kapoor, senior psychiatrist and founder of Manasthali, an online platform, which provides mental health related services.

Kapoor is of the opinion that young people are succumbing to mental health problems far more today than compared to a few years back. “We see a lot of stimulation, a huge amount of information regarding anything is out there and this information exposes us to a lot of conflicts. A younger mind is not ready to handle those conflicts. So the stress levels are pretty high, especially expectations from ourselves,” says Kapoor.

Further talking about stimulus, she also highlights that people of this age group (15-25) are almost starters or freshers who are just entering the professional world or are heading towards career-deciding exams. People of this age group have over the time become more competitive, or have a jealousy factor that shoots up the anxiety and stress level way more, according to Kapoor.

“Younger people want to achieve success very fast. People now want to have their own startups, they want to have luxurious items and that can become quite stressful as people don’t want to give up so easily,” she adds.

The people who belong to Gen Z are mostly night owls rather than early risers as compared to millennials, says Kapoor. A study cited by The Economic Times in 2018 revealed that 53% of Gen Z population in India go to bed late or sleep late due to gadgets or social media scrolling.

“Not only people using social media or watching Netflix, the globalisation of work culture has also eradicated the sleep culture. People more often come across work-related situations at night, which disrupts their sleeping patterns.” — Dr. Jyoti Kapoor, a senior psychiatrist

Mental health not only disrupts your peace of mind, but it brings out a chain of side effects in your body. Women who suffer from mental health issues are more likely to invite other diseases, especially problems related to fertility and menstruation.

“PCOS [Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome] and PCOD [Polycystic Ovarian Disease] are one [sic] of the major psychosomatic problems. As it is a problem of hormonal imbalance, it requires treatment of stress management. Mental health can also bring you infertility issues. Higher the person is stressed, the lower will be the chances to conceive,” Kapoor highlights.

A report by The Hindu says that one in five women in India suffer from (PCOS) or (PCOD). These are hormonal disorders in women, which affect their reproductive system.

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