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Gen Z versus Gen X

It’s not always us versus them, but with mental health, sometimes it feels that way.

Photo by: Liane Metzler

Note: Throughout this article, I will be using the word “adult” as an easier way to signify the older generation in our lives (the parents, teachers, bosses, etc). I know we’re all adults—or will be very soon—but sometimes it’s difficult to remember that as we take steps into the “real world” (Especially when it comes to dealing with our mental health).

Our society often pits the younger generations against older ones, which makes it hard to find common ground on a myriad of issues; one of the big ones being mental health. Gen Z is very open about their mental battles and how it affects their lives, while Gen X was taught to hide their emotions, and power through the pain. When trying to talk to members of Gen X about mental health, we often receive responses like, “It’s not that bad you’re just being dramatic” or “Depression isn’t real you just need some sun”.

This is why our generation is so uncomfortable going to adults with our problems.

They lived through a different time, filled with their own hardships (protests, wars, gender roles, etc.) so it's easy for them to see the things we're going through and dismiss it. But whether it was intentional or not, their dismissal—especially with our mental health, fucked with our perception of the world (and ourselves).

When I was a preteen, I was bullied by an adult. She was the owner of a campground my family seasonally camped at. When there was some drama between her daughter and me, she started to give me dirty looks and side glances. All this from a woman four times my age—completely inappropriate. She even spread rumors about me, telling other parents I was shit-talking their kids, which wasn’t true.