Baby Boomers consider mental health days more important than Gen Z does – The Hill

Filed in Health by on July 22, 2022 0 Comments

Story at a glance

  • Amid rising worker burnout and the lingering economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers sought to assess which generation views mental health days as the most important.

  • When surveyed, Baby Boomers offered the highest opinion on the value of mental health days.

  • In contrast, Gen Z individuals tended to find the breaks the least important.

In America, Gen Z individuals–or those born after 1997–have been praised by some for their open-minded attitude about mental health.

Even so, results of a new survey conducted by Innerbody Research suggest older generations, particularly Baby Boomers, value taking mental health days more than their younger colleagues. This older cohort is also commonly classified as having less open attitudes towards mental health in general.

Researchers polled 763 individuals who took a mental health day in 2022 to assess their opinions about taking a respite.

Only 36.4 percent of Gen Z participants surveyed classified mental health days as “absolutely necessary” compared with 51.7 percent of Baby Boomers, or those born between the late 1940s and early 1960s.

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The survey also revealed differing opinions based on sex and work form as more women classified these breaks as important than men and those in hybrid roles tended to feel the strongest about their importance. According to the authors, the latter finding was indicative of a larger trend: “those in more flexible environments are more likely to find mental health days important.”

Recent surveys have also detailed lower job satisfaction rates among working women but higher levels of burnout, which may play a role in the findings.

More stress than usual at work and general burnout were among the top reasons listed for individuals taking the day off, authors wrote, and those who did take a day off reported higher levels of happiness.

The health detriments of chronic stress have been well-documented. Studies have shown it can lead to high cortisol and blood pressure levels along with subsequent digestion and immune problems.

“Mental health days are not long-term solutions, but they can help you identify a better strategy for a more serious problem or just relax after a period of heightened work stress,” report authors added.

Additional participants surveyed represented Generation X and millennials, with no more than two percent of each age group polled reporting thinking a mental health day wasn’t very important. However, this finding is not surprising, as the survey was only distributed to those who recently took one.

Currently, members of Gen Z are more likely to seek therapy and report poor mental health than those in other generations.

“There may be more concepts Gen Z considers crucial for their mental health than just taking a day off work, especially compared to previous generations,” researchers wrote.

Published on Jul. 22, 2022

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