More than half of Gen Z in Asia are suffering from poor mental health

Research found that Gen Z has the highest proportion of those struggling more than any other age group.

The Nation

The Nation



March 17, 2023

BANGKOK – While the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on mental health across society, the latest findings from the annual AXA Study of Mind Health and Wellbeing 2023 have revealed that Gen Z (aged 18-24) appears to be taking the brunt of the impact, with more than half of Gen Z globally (53%) and in Asia (51%) experiencing poor mental health.

The Survey identifies specific challenges they face in today’s workplace, while also highlighting the need for employers to explore tailored support to address a potential surge in turnover in young talent.

The research found that Gen Z has the highest proportion of those struggling (associated with emotional stress and psychosocial impairment) at 18% globally and 14% in Asia, more than any other age group.

Globally, only 13% of young people aged 18-24 are flourishing at the pinnacle of mental health, with the proportion being 15% in Asia, both the lowest across all age groups.

This makes 18-24 the only age group globally that has more people struggling than flourishing.

Gen Z show a greater ability to work under stress, though most likely to resign

In Asia’s workplaces, the survey reveals that Gen Z talent is affected by several key challenges that pose a potential threat to their mental health.

These include uncertainty about the future (69% vs 59% globally), struggling to separate work life and non-work life (49% vs 39% globally), finding it hard to keep up with the pace of change at work (47% vs 38% globally), and a lack of job-skill fit (16% vs 9% globally).

This last factor has a very strong correlation with mental well-being, as those that have the right job skill fit are 2.5 times more likely to perform their best according to the research.

The results also show that the 18-24 age group in Asia has the highest percentage of people who intend to resign in the next 12 months (21%).

Yet the survey found a clear indication that those in the 18-24 age group who are flourishing are less likely to resign, with the rate being only 16%, highlighting the importance of effectively enabling positive mental health in supporting employee retention.

Workplace mental health support plays a vital role in overall mental wellbeing

Support for mental health in the workplace has risen up the agenda during the pandemic.

The research also reveals that in Asia, companies that provide mental health support are 2.5 times more likely to have employees that are flourishing.

In particular, while 1 in 4 Gen Z employees who feel they are getting good mental health support at work are flourishing, the rate is only 1 in 100 among those that do not see such support, which is the biggest difference among all age groups.

This indicates mind health support in the workplace also has the greatest impact on the mental well-being of Gen Z, making this group a priority target for such solutions.

Gordon Watson, CEO of AXA Asia and Africa said, “While mental health has rightly attracted greater attention in the wake of the pandemic’s disruption on our lives, these findings emphasise that the next generation of talent across Asia are facing severe challenges. Companies need to examine how they can make a tangible difference with support relevant to the needs of their Gen Z employees, not only to help with productivity and retention but to tackle this urgent issue affecting societies across the region.”

Bubphawadee Owararinth
, Chief of People and Brand & Communications said, “This is the first year we have included Thailand in AXA Mental Health study, among the countries and territories, surveyed, Thailand had the highest number of flourishing people. Besides, 66% of Gen Z in Thailand feel they have a job-skill fit, higher than the global average. At KTAXA, we determined to create the company as the best place to work that encourages our employees to be happy at work and grow with the organization accepting the diversity of employees is important which include the gap generation of Gen Z generation and others which is aligned with the promise of AXA’s Employer Brand Promise is “Empowering the potential of employees aiming for success.”

Overall people in Asia are getting mentally healthier, believe that stigma is declining

Despite this concern, the research found that the proportion of people flourishing in Asia climbed from 19% to 22%, with Asia seeing a bigger rise than the global average.

By contrast, the proportion of those struggling in Asia fell to 12%, a year-on-year decrease of 2%. This speaks to improving mental well-being across the board. In addition, 36% of respondents globally agree that stigma related to mental health is declining, compared to 31% last year.

The findings show that 25% of people globally are flourishing, with Thailand (36%), a new entrant this year, topping the list and Italy (18%) showing the lowest level.

A closer look at Asian countries and territories in the survey finds that the Philippines had the largest proportion globally of people getting by, at 39%, followed by Hong Kong at 37%. Across the region, the largest proportion of languishing and struggling was in Japan, at 31% and 14% respectively.

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