According to the report World State of Mind 2021there is a “frightening” fall in the mental well-being of younger generationsan “world phenomenon” which is repeated in each of the 34 countries from different continents included in the document. While 7% of people over the age of 65 admit to being distressed or struggling with their mental well-being to the point that their daily functioning is affected, people aged 18 to 24 who live in the same situation reach 44%.
The Mental State of the World 2021 report considers that the deterioration of the mental well-being of young people is “a global phenomenon”
A gap between generations that has been observed in the last decade, but that the Covid-19 crisis has deepened. Before 2010, young people between the ages of 18 and 24 had the highest levels of mental well-being, according to the report produced as part of the draft The mental health of the million from Sapiens Laba research organization on the human brain and mind.
The second edition of the study has just been published in Spanish and includes data collected until December 31, 2021. In total, 223,087 people have been surveyed in 34 countries from Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Arab world, with Internet access. in the polls 8,083 people in Spain have participated.
44% of 18-24 year olds surveyed say they are distressed or struggling for their mental well-being. Among those over 65, the percentage is 7%
The research work tries to show a picture of the current state of mental well-being and includes information on the impact of Covid-19 in different ages and regions of the world, based on a aggregate metric of mental well-being, the MHQ on different dimensions of mental health.
Spain stands out as the second country with the best mental well-being of the 34 respondents. Eight of the 10 countries with the highest MHQ values are from Latin America and continental Europe. Instead, eight of the 10 countries with the worst state of mental well-being are located in the English-speaking world. This set of countries has the worst state of mental well-being of the regions studied.
Spain stands out as the second country with the best mental well-being of the 34 respondents
The authors find a significant correlation between cultural indicators such as individualism Hello ranking people by their performance (what they call performance orientation), and worse MHQ values. Those who most show this negative correlation are men between 18 and 64 years of age. The authors conclude that “a culture where everyone looks after themselves and is judged and ranked by their performance may be good for economic growth, but bad for our collective mental well-being”.
In fact, economic growthGDP and even indicators of economic and social well-being, such as having a better Gini Coefficient, has no correlation with positive outcomes in mental well-being. The authors are surprised that Venezuela is the one with the best MHQ score. In contrast, higher levels of education and employment are associated with better mental well-being.
“A culture where everyone looks after themselves and is judged and ranked by their performance can be detrimental to our collective mental well-being”
What has led young people to feel worse than before?
The report highlights that the difference in mental well-being between the young and the elderly was between two and three times greater than the differences by gender, employment or by countries within the same region. In addition, it is a pattern that is repeated in all the countries that have participated in the survey.
The authors point out that it is “of utmost importance” understand the reasons that have led to this trendso different from the mental well-being data according to age that were given before 2010. And they add that a phenomenon as widespread as this, “suggests a common underlying cause”.
The difference in mental well-being between the young and the old is two to three times greater than the differences by gender, employment or country
In the absence of studies that delve into the cause that leads young people to have worse mental well-being than their elders, and less happiness than a decade ago, the authors of the study link it to the proliferation of mobile phones with Internet access. Its penetration in many societies coincides with the beginning of the change in trend in the mental well-being of young people.
“Global statistics indicate that individuals spend an average of seven to 10 hours online per day, depending on the country”, the study points out. From this data they start to suggest that part of those hours you dedicate to the online connection “previously he would have engaged in the in-person social interactions required to build and maintain a strong social selfthe most absent dimension in younger adults».
The authors suggest that the large number of hours that young people spend with the mobile may have reduced their social interactions and be the possible cause
In addition, they warn that as people between 18 and 24 years old get older, it is usual that the “aggregate social mental well-being and social self will further decline over the next two decades”. They conclude that this worsening “Boards serious challenges for the future of civil society”.