Research shows many Americans are facing increasing mental health and well-being challenges, and Gen Z and Millennials have been especially affected in recent years. [ref COVID Response Tracking Study. 2020. https://www.norc.org/Research/Projects/Pages/covid-response-tracking-study.aspx] [ref MTV/AP NORC Poll. 2021. https://apnorc.org/projects/younger-generations-stand-out-on-identity-acceptance-and-progressive-policies/] These generations highlight social media, uncertainty about the COVID-19 pandemic, and their personal financial outlook as some of the main sources of stress. News stories often tackle the intertwined issues of health and mental health, too, such as in the case of the opioid epidemic or COVID-19 pandemic.
Who are the Gen Z and Millennials who are most following information related to health and mental health? This section of the Media Insight Project study looks at the 15% of 16- to 40-year-olds who say they most closely follow news about health or mental health.
Gen Z and Millennials who closely follow news on health or mental health are diverse
Gen Z and Millennials who follow news related to health or mental health most often are demographically similar to Gen Z and Millennials overall. The only difference within those who most follow this topic is gender. Women make up nearly 6 in 10 of those who most often follow news about health or mental health.
Over half of Gen Z and Millennials who most often follow information related to health or mental health do so each day, though variation exists among generations, race and ethnicity, and geography
In all, 56% of Gen Z and Millennials who closely follow news on health and mental health get news on it at least daily. Yet the topic’s consumption varies by age, race and ethnicity, and geography. For instance, members of the Gen Z generation are less likely to consume information related to health or mental health daily than both older and younger Millennials.
Race and ethnicity are also factors when it comes to daily consumption of health and mental health news. Black and Hispanic Gen Z and Millennials who follow the topic closely are slightly more likely than white Gen Z and Millennials in this group to consume health and mental health news each day.
As for geography, those who live in urban areas are more likely than those who live in suburban settings to follow this topic daily (64% vs. 50%).
Gen Z and Millennials who closely follow information about health and mental health use a variety of social media platforms to get it
When it comes to the social platforms where Gen Z and Millennials who closely follow news on health and mental health look for information on the topic, Facebook and YouTube are the most popular. Many also use Instagram and TikTok to get news about health or mental health, similar to the rates among those who most closely follow social issues.
The social media accounts of individuals or influencers are the most commonly used by those who most often follow information about health or mental health
More than a third of Gen Z and Millennials who closely follow the topic of health or mental health most often get their information from the social media accounts of individuals not known to them personally.
About 1 in 5 in this group also report receiving news about health and mental health from the social media accounts of publications that focus on specific populations or publications that focus on a single topic. Accounts of individuals that respondents know personally are also common sources for this information.
Search engines are the most common traditional source for close followers of health or mental health information; word of mouth is also predominant
When it comes to traditional media sources for information about health or mental health, Gen Z and Millennials who most often follow the topic most commonly use search engines. However, more rely on word of mouth for information about health or mental health compared with other popular topics. Podcasts also stand out as a key source for this topic.
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