OAKLAND, Calif., (April 21, 2022) – A significant majority of Gen Z youth (75% nationwide, 80% in California) have experienced a mental health-related issue, such as anxiety, stress,
and/or feelings of being overwhelmed as a result of reading, seeing, or hearing news about climate change, according to Blue Shield of California’s second annual NextGen Climate Survey.
Four out of five youths (81 percent nationwide, 86 percent in California) report that they have taken action to address climate change despite their mental health problems. The Harris Poll conducted the poll in March 2022 and surveyed 1,300 youth aged 14-24 across the country, including more than 300 in California.
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health SciencesClimate change is a global health risk. It is caused primarily by the buildup greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. If left unchecked, it will increase the risks for human livelihood, especially for vulnerable populations like children and the elderly.
“Our warming planet, and all that comes with it, is literally putting lives at risk, so it’s no wonder that it’s also causing deep stress among our youth,” said David Bond, director of Behavioral Health at Blue Shield of California. “Kids are resilient, but they also see what’s going on around them. Together, we need to be responsive to the effects of eco-anxiety by opening up a dialogue with our children and seeking professional treatment when appropriate.”
Youth Are Taking Action
Young people are making a difference by reducing their dependence on plastic products (54 percent nationwide, 64% California), reducing their use of electricity (52% nationwide, 52% California) and conserving water (38% nationwide; 53% California).
“The studies are pretty conclusive in my mind – the planet is in serious trouble, and it looks like it will be up to my generation to take a stand on climate change,” said Joel Castro, 17, senior at Herbert Hoover High School in San Diego and president of his school’s Cesar Chavez Service Club. “My classmates, friends, and family are already taking steps to help heal the earth – like recycling, encouraging people to get out of their cars, taking part in community cleanups, and even advocating for policy change within our schools and communities. But we need more people to jump on board before it’s too late.”
Leaders are being called to do more
- The overwhelming majority of respondents (81% in California, 84% nationwide) agree that global leaders aren’t doing enough to combat climate change.
- Three quarters (74 percent in the United States, 74% in California), agree that the U.S. should take some responsibility for helping people cope with the effects of climate change on their mental well-being.
- A majority of Americans (85% in the United States, 86% in California), believe it is important for brands/companies to support sustainable and/or environmentally-friendly practices.
“Climate change is an urgent public health crisis and addressing this challenge is a priority for Blue Shield,” said Paul Markovich, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California. “That is why we are committed to becoming carbon negative by 2023 and zero waste by 2025. We are also quantifying the cost of climate change on our health and adopting and promoting climate-smart health care.”
For more on Blue Shield’s NextGen Climate SurveyClick here Here.
Click here to learn how to manage stress caused by climate change. Here.
For more on Blue Shield of California’s NextGen Sustainability Goals click Here
For more information on how Blue Shield of California is increasing awareness, advocacy and access for youth mental health, visit Blue Shield of California’s BlueSky page.
The research was conducted online in the U.S. by The Harris Poll on behalf of Blue Shield of California between March 10-22, 2022, among 1,300 respondents ages 14-24, including an oversample of 369 youth who reside in California. A Bayesian credible interval is used to measure the sampling precision of Harris online surveys. For this study, the total Gen Z sample data is accurate to within +3.4 percentage points using a 95% confidence level and the total California sample data is accurate to within +5.8 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. Blue Shield of California can be reached at the contact info above for more information about the survey methodology, including weighting variables, subgroup sample sizes and weighting variables.
About Blue Shield of California
Blue Shield of California is committed to creating a healthcare system that is accessible and affordable, while still being a valued member of the Blue Shield Association. Blue Shield of California is an independent tax-paying member of the Blue Shield Association. It has over 4.5million members, more than 7,500 employees, and more that $21 billion in annual revenues. Blue Shield of California was founded in San Francisco in 1939 and is headquartered in Oakland. It offers Californians health, vision, Medicaid, and Medicare healthcare services. Blue Shield of California Foundation has received more than $192million from the company over the past five years. This money will be used to make an impact in California communities.
Visit Blue Shield of California for more information news.blueshieldca.com.