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Why This New Study From Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation Matters for Youth Mental Health

In just two weeks, Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation and the Benenson Strategy Group conducted over 4,000 interviews for a new study assessing the mental health of young people ages 15 to 24.

The interviews focused on four subsets of people – high school students, university students, employed young people and their parents. Here’s what they found:

  1. Kindness matters. Young people in better mental health are in kind communities.
  2. Peer support networks are crucial. Young people rely on friends for mental health support.
  3. Mental health resources make a difference. Resources that foster kindness in schools, colleges and workplaces help improve mental wellness.

So, what do these takeaways tell us? At the broadest level, they tell us just how crucial an awareness and understanding of mental health is to a population on the brink of adulthood.

15 to 24-year-olds share the perception of “feeling in between.” Often, they are smack-dab in the middle of starting to feel responsible for themselves, but still closely tied to their parents and family. As such, it is an age during which personal identity is more thoroughly explored – a time to figure out what they want out of work, school and love.

A deeper dive into the numbers tells us a bit more…

57 percent of young people report that mental health is a very important priority, compared to 51 percent regarding physical health. That means a majority of young people value their mental health over their physical health.

And yet, the majority of young people – across all three subsets – rarely, if ever, discuss mental health with others. Most are unaware if and what kinds of mental health resources are available to them, too.

So it makes sense that schools that offer mental health resources, and make them readily available to their students, report much higher levels of mental health overall. The same goes for both familial and work environments.

Additionally, over three quarters of respondents reported that sharing advice and personal stories, as well as simply connecting with other people, were also key helping mechanisms for maintaining mental wellness. An impressive 74 percent reported an interest in taking a class or training program to better prepare themselves to help a friend facing a mental health crisis.

That’s exactly where Mental Health First Aid comes in.

Mental Health First Aid is a training program that brings people together to learn and speak openly about mental health challenges and crises. It is a safe space that fosters a sense of community and teaches people how to identify and help a friend, family member or colleague who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge.

The Born This Way Foundation recently teamed up with the National Council for Mental Wellbeing to train 150,000 people by the end of the year. Read more here.

Thanks to Born This Way Foundation’s study, we have a deeper understanding about how young people view, manage and prioritize their mental health. We view the study as a call to action for everyone to learn how to better support the young people in their lives – and Mental Health First Aid is part of the answer.

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