Gun Violence is a Major Source of Stress for Gen Z


Time reports the American Psychological Association has released a study that found that members of Generation Z are significantly stressed. Factors contributing to high stress include school shootings, gun violence, political turmoil, and personal problems.

The APA’s “Stress in America” report found mental health among Gen Zers to be poorest among all generations.

Jamie Ducharme of Time writes:

Gun violence seemed to be a particularly large source of stress for the school-aged generation, with 75% of those in Gen Z calling mass shootings a significant source of stress. Seventy-two percent said the same of school shootings, and 21% of Gen Z students said the thought of a shooting occurring at their school was a constant or frequent source of stress. Their parents agree: 74% of parents included in the survey called school shootings a significant source of stress.

And while gun violence was found to contribute significantly to the stress levels of Gen Z, the study identified other significant stressors as well. And while Gen Z did take measures to get help, they often felt they could have done more to address their issues. Ducharme states:

Just as concerning as the prevalence of stress was the struggle to manage it. Though 37% of Gen Z individuals — more than any other generation — reported receiving help from a mental health professional, only half said they felt they did enough to manage their stress. Nearly three-quarters also said they could have used more emotional support over the past year.

Emerging generations are more aware of mental health concerns than the generations preceding them, as tremendous efforts have been made to destigmatize anxiety, depression, and other conditions. But there is still more work to do. Churches play a tremendous role in providing social and emotional support for those in their community, fostering trust among members and creating space for vulnerability.

Youth ministers who are well trained in pastoral care can be a tremendous resource for students who are suffering from poor mental health by offering wise counsel, prayer, and loving support. Youth ministers should be well trained in identifying symptoms of anxiety and depression, and know of counselors, physicians, and other individuals in their communities who can also provide support for their students.

While the results of this study should result in concern for Generation Z, it should also lead to introspection by older generations who have contributed to the environment that is presently causing stress among the young. They are not at fault for the stress that they feel. While it is worthwhile to develop grit and resilience among the young, it is also important for faith leaders to work toward effective solutions for reducing gun violence, increasing school safety, and creating a more civil public square.