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About three quarters Gen Zs across APAC are experiencing elevated stress levels due to COVID-19, and 57% say their mental health has worsened. Nevertheless, less than half are comfortable talking about their mental health, according to a latest research. 

Surveying 1,226 Gen Zs (aged 18 to 24 years) across APAC in Australia, China, Hong Kong and Singapore, the survey shows that nearly four in five (79%) face overwhelming stress monthly or more frequently, with 28% experiencing this weekly and 11% daily.

When looking at the sources of overwhelming stress for Gen Z across APAC, family pressures (65%) followed by career pressures (48%) and relationships with friends (41%) rank highest.

Additionally, the economic and lifestyle impacts of COVID-19 have had a more negative effect on the mental health and wellbeing of Gen Z than health-related ones. 71% of Gen Zs say the economic fallout of COVID-19 has negatively affected their mental health and wellbeing, followed by travel bans at 68%. These rank ahead of concerns about friends and family being infected with COVID-19 (62%) or themselves being infected (58%).

During a crisis, social media is a double edge sword for Gen Z. Across all markets, while nearly one quarter say social media has helped their mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19, more than one third feel it has had a negative influence.

Of those who believe social media has had a positive impact, 69% attribute this to being able to connect with family and friends. Two in three (66%) feel social media has been a source of distraction to pass time, with 66% citing increased boredom during COVID-19.

Those who consider social media as a negative influence pinpoint the influx of negative stories (61%) on social platforms as the reason. .

Furthermore, of those who feel negatively, close to half across APAC say the lack of real connection with friends and loved ones has in fact worsened their mental health and wellbeing. Almost two in five (38%) also expressed that social media has inadvertently pressured them to be constantly “busy” despite feeling negative about the pandemic situation.

Despite the increased pressures on mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19, a culture of betterment is seen with Gen Zs making responsible decisions about their future and many seeking professional support where needed.

When asked about how the pandemic has altered their future plans, close to half (46%) have increased their focus on savings. Almost one-third (30%) have also increased their commitments to studying and decided to learn a new skill during this period.