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NA Vs WE: How Do Young Consumers Take Care of Their Mental Health?

Mental health is a top priority for young consumers in WE and NA, but there are differences in the way they approach it…

TL;DR

  • Young Europeans have a more positive outlook than their peers in North America
  • They are not using meditation / mindfulness apps as much as young North Americans
  • Gen Z and Millennials in North America are also more likely to turn to therapy for help than their European peers

Data from YPulse’s recent Western Europe Mental Health Report shows that three quarters of 13-39-year-olds in Western Europe have experienced burn out in the last year, underscoring just how deep the mental health crisis in the region is. Of course, it’s not just young Europeans who are suffering from bad mental health: Gen Z and Millennials in North America are open about their struggles with anxiety and burnout. Global factors explain this situation, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the current cost-of-living crisis, looming inflation, the rise of remote work, and the faltering of healthcare institutions. While it is true Gen Z and Millennials in both Western Europe and North America can be called the anxious generations, our data reveals some key differences between the two regions when it comes to both their state of mind and how they take care of their mental health:

29% of young Western Europeans have felt emotionally drained in the last year vs. 43% in North America

Young Europeans feel less emotionally drained than their NA peers

Less than a third of young Europeans say they felt emotionally drained in 2022—significantly less than in North America, where two in five young people have experienced feeling emotionally drained. In our Mental Health survey, we gave 13-39-year-olds a list of ten negative feelings such as “lack of energy,” or “unable to cope with the demands of life,” and asked them to tell us what feelings they’ve experienced in the past year. It turns out that North American young consumers are more likely to have experienced negative feelings than their European peers. For example, half of young North Americans say they were mentally exhausted in 2022, whereas only 41% in Western Europe say so, and 31% of NA Gen Z and Millennials say they were “overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I need to do at home,” compared to 19% in Western Europe.

Interestingly, young consumers in both continents are equally likely to say that they’ve felt “stressed about the current state of the economy,” showing how the inflation and cost-of-living crisis is impacting Gen Z and Millennials globally. The cost of living crisis is deepening everywhere in Western Europe and North America, and impacting these generations, to the point that experts are wondering if it will be the equivalent of 9/11 for Gen Alpha.

58% of young Western Europeans have used or are interested in using a mindfulness / meditation app vs. 67% in North America

The majority of young Europeans have turned to or are considering using a mindfulness app, but less than their NA peers

Almost three in five young Europeans have already used or are thinking about using an app to teach them meditation or mindfulness. While this number is significant, it is less than in North America, where 67% of Gen Z and Millennials say they already use a meditation app. Here again, our data shows that young Europeans are less likely than their North American peers to do activities to help with their mental health. For example, 43% of young Europeans say they’ve used a mental health resource from a brand, compared to 56% in North America.

The fact that North Americans turn to mindfulness apps more than their European counterparts does not mean that young Europeans are not interested in trying such techniques. In fact, young consumers in Western Europe are increasingly interested in mindfulness and meditation apps—at a +6pt increase from last year—and the industry is expected to grow rapidly in the region in the next few years. The French meditation app Petit BamBou has expanded rapidly over the years, and has become a symbol of the success of mindfulness / meditation apps among young consumers in Western Europe.

46% of young Western Europeans have spoken to a mental health professional vs. 54% in North America

Young consumers in North America are more likely to have spoken to a therapist about their mental health

When it comes to mental health, young Europeans are less inclined to turn to professionals like therapists and counselors for help than their North American peers. This can be understood by the fact that there is still a stigma associated with speaking openly about mental health issues in Western Europe, and it is also possible the post-pandemic struggling healthcare system in Europe makes it more difficult for these gens to receive the help they need from mental health professionals.

But things are changing, and young Europeans are increasingly interested in openly speaking about their mental health, and more are seeking professional help, with +9pts more than in 2022 saying so. Last year, the majority of European Gen Z and Millennials agreed with the statement: “Mental health issues should be a personal matter and not be spoken about on online platforms,” but this year the majority of them disagree with this statement. In France, the government encouraged talking about mental health by making free therapy available for all its citizens aged three and above. And more brands in the region are investing in mental health marketing to help destigmatize mental health, too.