Mental Health and Well-being: Addressing Gen Z’s Needs in Colleges

Mental Health and Well-being: Addressing Gen Z’s Needs in Colleges

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Mental Health and Well-being: Addressing Gen Z's Needs in College

College is an exciting and transformative time in a young person’s life. It is a time of self-discovery, personal growth, and academic pursuits. However, it is also a period that can be challenging for many students, particularly Generation Z, or Gen Z, who are currently attending colleges and universities. 

The Mental Health Landscape       

The mental health landscape among college students has been a growing concern in recent years. According to a survey conducted by the American College Health Association, 61% of students reported feeling overwhelming anxiety, and 39% experienced severe depression that impacted their ability to function effectively. These alarming statistics highlight the urgent need for colleges to prioritize mental health and well-being initiatives.

Who is Gen Z?       

Generation Z, often referred to as Gen Z, is the demographic cohort that follows Millennials. Born between the late 1990s and early 2010s, Gen Z is the first generation to have grown up entirely in the digital age. They are characterized by their fluency with technology, widespread access to the internet, and an innate understanding of social media platforms. Gen Z is known for being diverse, socially conscious, and digitally connected. They have witnessed significant global events and are shaped by them. Gen Z is redefining cultural norms, challenging traditional institutions, and influencing various aspects of society, including politics, education, and the workplace. 

Understanding Gen Z’s Mental Health

Gen Z has experienced distinct societal and technological shifts that shape their mental health landscape. Factors such as social media, academic pressures, and a rapidly changing world contribute to heightened stress levels among college students. Recognizing these challenges is pivotal for developing effective support mechanisms.

Also Read: How Gen Z is Reshaping College Campus in India?.

Challenges Faced by Gen Z   

Gen Z students face a multitude of challenges that can impact their mental health and well-being. Some of these challenges include:

1. Social Media and Digital Overload:

Gen Z grew up in an era of constant connectivity and digital engagement. While social media platforms offer opportunities for connection, they also contribute to feelings of isolation, comparison, and low self-esteem. Colleges need to address the impact of social media on mental health and promote healthy online habits.

2. Academic Pressure:

The pressure to excel academically and secure a successful future can be overwhelming for Gen Z students. Expectations to achieve high grades, engage in extracurricular activities, and secure internships or job opportunities contribute to stress and anxiety.

3. Financial Stress:

Gen Z students often face financial burdens, including student loan debt and tuition, textbooks, and living expenses. Financial stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and a decreased ability to focus on academic pursuits.

4. Transition to Adulthood:

Gen Z students are navigating the transition from adolescence to adulthood, which involves increased responsibilities, decision-making, and independence. This transition can be challenging and may contribute to feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. 

Mental Health and Well-being: Addressing Gen Z’s Needs in Colleges

Addressing mental health and well-being needs is crucial for Gen Z college students.  to ensure a positive and fulfilling college experience. Remember, seeking professional help when needed is always encouraged. Here are some strategies they can consider:

1. Seeking Support:

It’s important for Gen Z students to reach out for support when needed. This can include utilizing on-campus counseling services, seeking therapy or counseling off-campus, or confiding in trusted friends, family members, or mentors.

2. Building Connections:

Developing strong social connections is vital for mental health. Gen Z students can join clubs, organizations, or interest groups on campus to meet like-minded individuals and foster meaningful relationships. Engaging in social activities and maintaining a support network can provide a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of isolation.

3. Prioritizing Self-Care:

Taking care of one’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being is essential. Gen Z students should prioritize self-care activities such as getting enough sleep, eating well-balanced meals, engaging in regular exercise, and practicing relaxation techniques like meditation or mindfulness.

4. Managing Stress:

College life can be stressful, so it’s important for Gen Z students to develop effective stress management techniques. This can include creating a study schedule, breaking tasks into manageable chunks, practicing time management, and engaging in stress-reducing activities such as hobbies, art, or music.

5. Balancing Technology Use:

While technology can be beneficial, excessive use of social media and digital devices can negatively impact mental health. Gen Z students should be mindful of their screen time and take regular breaks from technology to engage in offline activities and foster face-to-face interactions.

6. Promoting Open Conversations:

Gen Z students can contribute to a supportive campus culture by engaging in open conversations about mental health. By sharing their experiences and encouraging others to seek help, they can help reduce stigma and create a more inclusive and understanding environment.

7. Accessing Resources:

Colleges often provide resources and support services for mental health. Gen Z students should familiarize themselves with these resources, such as counseling centers, support groups, and workshops. They can also explore online resources, apps, and helplines that offer mental health support.

8. Setting Realistic Expectations:

Gen Z students should set realistic expectations for themselves academically, socially, and personally. It’s important to remember that everyone’s journey is unique, and it’s okay to ask for help or take breaks when needed.

9. Practicing Mindfulness:

Mindfulness practices, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, can help Gen Z students manage stress, increase self-awareness, and improve overall well-being. Incorporating mindfulness into daily routines can promote a sense of calm and clarity.

10. Maintaining Work-Life Balance:

Balancing academic responsibilities with personal interests and leisure activities is crucial for mental health. Gen Z students should strive to create a healthy work-life balance by setting boundaries, prioritizing self-care, and engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation.

Addressing Gen Z’s Mental Health Needs: The Role Colleges Play

Colleges play a crucial role in supporting the mental health and well-being of Gen Z students. Here are some strategies and initiatives that institutions can implement:

  • Colleges should prioritize mental health awareness campaigns like workshops, seminars, and events to reduce stigma and  promote mental health literacy and help-seeking behaviours.
  • Colleges should provide easily accessible counselling services on campus to meet the diverse needs of Gen Z students. . 
  • Establishing peer support programs, such as mentorship initiatives or student-led support groups, can create a sense of community and provide a safe space for students to share their experiences and seek support from their peers.
  • Introducing wellness and resilience programs can equip students with coping strategies, stress management techniques, and self-care practices. These programs can include mindfulness workshops, yoga classes, and stress-reduction activities.
  • Encouraging collaboration between faculty, staff, and mental health professionals is essential. This collaboration can involve training faculty and staff to recognize early signs of mental health issues, providing appropriate referrals, and implementing supportive policies and accommodations.
  • Colleges should invest in resources that promote mental health and well-being. This can include creating quiet spaces for relaxation, improving campus safety measures, and offering resources on nutrition, sleep, and exercise.
  •  Promote a holistic approach to wellness by integrating mental health into various aspects of campus life. This can involve incorporating mental health discussions into academic curricula, offering mental health workshops during orientation, and fostering a supportive campus culture.
  •  Establish partnerships with local mental health organizations and community resources to provide additional support for students. These partnerships can enhance the range of services available and ensure a continuum of care for students.


Addressing mental health and well-being needs in college requires a multifaceted approach encompassing self-care practices, seeking professional help, fostering supportive relationships, and engaging in campus resources. By prioritizing their mental health and adopting proactive strategies, Gen Z students can navigate the challenges of college life more effectively and cultivate resilience for the future. 

Also, with the complexities of higher education, it is imperative that colleges adapt and evolve to meet the evolving mental health needs of the Generation Z demographic. By destigmatizing mental health concerns, expanding accessible services, implementing academic support programs, integrating technology, and fostering peer support networks, institutions can create an environment that prioritizes the well-being of its students.


1. Why is ‘Gen Z’ more likely to talk about mental health issues?

Gen Z is more open and likely to discuss mental health due to increased awareness campaigns, normalisation and acceptance efforts, and access to online platforms and social media. As this generation prioritises self-expression and seeks validation through sharing experiences, they find comfort in sharing personal stories online and seeking professional help. This has contributed to an encouraging culture where discussing mental health is normal, leading to open conversation and support.

2. How are young people protecting their mental health in 2024?

In 2024, young people are prioritising and protecting their mental health through mindfulness practices, seeking professional therapy, utilising mental health apps, and engaging in open conversations about mental well-being. They are prioritising self-care routines, engaging in hobbies, setting boundaries with technology, acknowledging the importance of balance in a digitally connected world to maintain emotional well-being and participating in physical activities. This proactive strategy helps them maintain mental well-being in today’s world.

3. What are the 5 points of mental wellbeing?

The 5 points of mental wellbeing are :

  1. Connect: Building and maintaining good social connections and supportive relationships is important for mental well-being. Seek professional help when needed.
  2. Be active: Engaging in physical activities and hobbies can improve mental well-being by enabling better sleep, happier moods, and reduced stress and anxiety.
  3. Take notice: Practicing mindfulness and stress management techniques helps reduce stress and pay more attention to the present moment, including thoughts, feelings, and the surrounding environment, which can improve mental well-being.
  4. Keep learning: Learning new skills can contribute to improved mental well-being.
  5. Give: Acts of kindness, whether small or large, can improve well-being and help build new social networks.

4. How to improve the mental health of Genz’s?

Gen Z’s mental health can be improved and can also make a positive impact by: 

-Promoting open discussion about emotions and normalising seeking help

-Providing strategies to manage mental health 

-Providing accessible mental health resources, such as online therapy,  digital wellness apps, telehealth, and support groups

-Encouraging a culture of self-care and balance in a digital world 

-Prioritising awareness on managing mental health strategies and emotional regulation

-Creating safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth, reducing stigma

5. How is wellbeing defined among Genz’s?

Mental health challenges, societal crisis, and political activism have influenced their idea of well-being, emphasising the need for comprehensive support and resources. Thus, among Gen Z, well-being is defined as a holistic state containing happiness, emotional, physical, and social health, and prosperity. It involves feeling fulfilled, balanced, and connected in various aspects of life, including relationships, work, and leisure. 

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