March 1, 2024

Unlocking Strengths: Gen Z’s Mental Health Resilience

By Sydney Kittrell
Mental Health & Wellbeing

Recent data from the CDC found that 57% of US girls experienced feelings of persistent sadness or hopelessness. This data crept into cultural awareness, with everyone having different hypotheses: it’s social media, must be TikTok! It’s the lack of family values! It’s too much emphasis placed on body image and appearance! It’s not enough time outside!

While it can be helpful to try to figure out the cause of higher rates of mental health issues, it can also be overwhelming to only focus on the causes rather than potential solutions or potential strong foundations. For a moment, I’d like to focus on the unique strengths of Generation Z rather than the more typical narrative involving doom and gloom. My intention is that this can foster inspiration and hope both for people that are a part of gen Z, and for those that deeply love and care for people in gen Z. Perhaps we even have something to learn from this younger generation.

So who exactly is gen Z?

Most sources define gen Z as the cohort born between the mid 1990’s and the early 2010’s. This generation is often referred to as “zoomers”, referencing their high levels of comfort using technology and the influence technology has had on their upbringing. Significant cultural moments and trends for this generation include climate activism, political activism, and the adoption of online learning/remote work accelerated by COVID-19.

Strengths of gen Z


Gen Z embraces change, whether that’s navigating new online platforms, flexibility in learning, or higher openness to different career paths. When navigating mental health issues, adaptability can be a crucial skill. Adverse life experiences will inevitably come up and being able to adapt expectations and modify negative self-talk will aid in decreasing negative symptoms. Adaptability also aids in coping with uncertainty and resilience building. With resilience, one is more likely to bounce back from setbacks and learn and grow.  If you’re a member of gen Z or a parent who loves someone in Gen Z know that the high levels of adaptability can be celebrated and used to your advantage!

Social Activism

Gen Z’s commitment to social issues is remarkable, whether that’s environmental concerns, racial justice, gender equality or other major concerns. The dedication to make the world a better place is inspiring and can also contribute positively to mental health. Social activism involvement can provide a sense of purpose, contributing to something greater than oneself leading to a sense of meaning and fulfillment. Engaging in activism can also create a sense of community and connection, working with like-minded people towards a common goal.


Open-mindedness means a high receptiveness to different ideas and perspectives. Gen Z’s value of open-mindedness can foster inclusive communities where people feel accepted and valued. Open-mindedness can also lead to increased empathy for others, seeking to understand rather than stigmatize people that appear different. There’s also a reduced judgment and pressure; social norms and expectations seem to be looser with this generation and diverse identities and experiences are embraced. Gen Z may be more comfortable expressing their true selves, which can be vital for mental well-being.

Effective communication

Gen Z places high value on communication in various different realms: Gen Z is highly skilled at conveying messages through digital platforms, Gen Z values transparency and honesty, communicating openly about different struggles or experiences, and Gen Z has high rates of engagement in collaborative storytelling whether that’s through vlogs, podcasts, or posting on Youtube. This strength of effective communication can aid in building supportive social networks. Feeling understood and heard can reduce feelings of isolation and foster a sense of connection, significantly contributing to positive mental well-being.

While it’s important to note that generalizations about generations cannot apply to every individual, these strengths have been found to be common and significant in the Gen Z cohort. If you are a member of Gen Z or you love someone in Gen Z, allow yourself to find hope and inspiration in these strengths.

Reach out

As we celebrate the psychological strengths of Gen Z, it’s also important to note that everyone can benefit from additional support during challenges. If you or someone you know from Gen Z is experiencing difficulties managing stress, navigating personal relationships, or coping with mental health concerns, consider taking a bold step towards seeking therapy. Know that seeking therapy can be a sign of strength, self-awareness, and a commitment towards your well-being.

Written By

Sydney Kittrell

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