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Young Adults Resolve to Improve Mental Health in the New Year

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​Millennials and members of Generation Z say improving their mental health is their top resolution for 2023, according to a Forbes Health survey conducted in November with 1,005 U.S. adults.

Half of respondents between ages 18 and 25 and 49 percent of those between ages 26 and 41 cited improved mental health as a top resolution.

Among respondents overall, 45 percent said improving their mental health was one of their primary resolutions, while fewer chose physical wellness, such as becoming more fit (39 percent), losing weight (37 percent) and eating healthier (33 percent).

It's something for employers to keep in mind as they look to offer benefits that attract and retain workers who want help in meeting their wellness goals. Digital tools can help workers deal with stress. Among the 52 percent of respondents who want resources at their fingertips, fitness apps were the top choice (28 percent), followed by habit-tracking apps (21 percent), gym memberships (19 percent) and meditation apps (17 percent).

survey fielded by Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation and Indeed earlier this year found an overwhelming majority of adults ages 18-29 who are Black, indigenous or people of color (86 percent) or white (90 percent) said their mental health is a priority. However, 72 percent of the 1,200 respondents said they struggle to get mental health support because of the cost and not knowing what will be useful. Only half reported having health insurance that covers mental health care.

Celebrities of their generation are highlighting the importance of mental wellness. Tennis star Naomi Osaka, 24, who has grappled with anxiety and depression, withdrew from the 2021 French Open citing mental health concerns. In May this year, she partnered with workplace wellness platform Modern Health to work to reduce stigma associated with mental illness. In the summer, U.S. gymnast Simone Biles, 24, withdrew from competing in the Olympic Games to focus on her mental health.

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Creating a Mental-Health-Friendly Workplace]

Proactive employers have turned to various strategies to encourage all employees to take breaks and make use of paid time off, and are providing benefits that focus on physical and mental wellness.

"Awareness of the importance of mental health has drastically increased among younger generations," Sabrina Romanoff, a Harvard-trained clinical psychologist, professor, researcher and Forbes Health Advisory Board member, noted in the Forbes Health report. "This is likely due to the combination of amplified exposure; learning about the experience of others through various outlets" such as social media platforms, blogs and articles; "proliferation of the mental health industry; and reduced stigma [that] has created more resources to discuss experiences and receive care." 

Other SHRM resources:
'Tis the Season for Employers to Address Skyrocketing Stress, SHRM Online, December 2022
Stressed, Indebted and Idealistic, Generation Z Pushes Further into the Workplace, All Things Work, July 2022
New Grads Are Hopeful but Stressed as They Enter the Workforce, SHRM Online, May 2022
Study: Gen Z Anxious About Skills, Career Clarity, SHRM Online, April 2022
Stress Management, SHRM Express Request


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