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Why is Gen Z facing tremendous mental health issues?

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We are what we surround ourselves with. We become the vibes and the energies. It is more often than not that we find ourselves stressed and in conflict with our minds. They say that negative energies that develop within our body manifests in stress when we are not in alignment with our true selves. In this article, I will pen down my thoughts on how the environment heavily impacts us both in positive and negative ways.

I would narrate an anecdote from my own life. My extended family heavily criticized me throughout my childhood until I turned 21 for every decision I made, for the way I looked, for the way I spoke, for the career choices I made, precisely for me being me. I took these things seriously and was an extremely under-confident person. To top it, I was heavily body shamed. All of this added to my insecurities, and I went into a shell. Although my parents have always been the most supportive and loving, I did not want to bother them with my self-destructive thoughts since we were already undergoing a financial crisis. These things piled up only to result in a confused graduate, who did not know what she wanted and could not decide her path forward.

Now when I look back, I berate myself for giving these external forces the power to rule me, the ability to destroy me, and rendering their attempt at curling my bright future dark, almost fruitful. As luck would have it, I luckily ended up in a place that almost became my second home. For the first time in my life, my talent was appreciated. That place brought out the best in me and made me love myself a little more. I finally felt alive and started gaining back my lost confidence. I started believing in the person I am and found my passion. I found my path, and most importantly, I found myself.

I am sure I am just one in a billion who let others’ negative opinions affect one own self to such an extent. We do not realize, but there are so many children out there who are repeatedly told that they cannot achieve their dreams because they are not enough. Many of them eventually grow up to be someone with whom they do not resonate. These experiences have given rise to a generation who are perpetually depressed and suffer through anxiety and panic attacks.

We are to blame for everything that is wrong in society because we are society. We let the elders speak anything they want under the pretext of them being older, and it would be termed disrespectful to revert on their faces. As a team, we should take a stance against anything inappropriate that is said to a child, be it comparing him to his counterparts or making him feel unworthy of his dreams. As a generation, we should start by simply calling it out on the face of such unruly people and asking them to resurrect their behaviour or cut off all the ties.

These steps might seem harsh, but it would be necessary to heal and rise above in the long run. Mental health illness is real. We need to act promptly and make these positive changes to protect our future generations from undergoing the trauma that we have experienced.

It is extremely important to let a kid explore his path. It is crucial to instil in him self- belief and purpose. Life is more than just a job or a career. It is about passion. It is about finding what sets the soul on fire. In our pursuit of simply scoring scores and pursuing the courses pre-set by the society, we fail to foster in children two important characteristics that are integrity and accountability. We need to re-structure our mindsets that makes it necessary to have found the appropriate career paths by early 20’s failing which we are treated as pariahs. It is okay to not be happy with the course you thought you would want to pursue for life. It is okay to take detours in life. It is okay to be confused as long as you are experimenting , exploring, and growing. We need to prioritize happiness over everything.

Also, with the advent of social media, kids in their early teens and adolescents are pushed towards setting unrealistic body standards for themselves and getting gripped by the paramount phoney stories of celebrities and influencers. They have started living in a bubble that is sure to bring oodles of despair in the coming years. The only way forward is to be responsible towards the society and limit the intake of sensationalised news which eventually hamper our own mental condition.

I am healing gradually. I hope everyone else is healing too. The universe works in favour of those who help themselves.  I am an ardent supporter of mental health initiatives because I believe if not fully but partially, I have been to that dark place and do not want anyone else to drown in the abyss of hopelessness. Let us start by taking care of ourselves and our loved ones.

Until next time.

Nidra Chakraborty

MBA 2020-22 I SME IIT Jodhpur

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