Zeal TN on Advocating for Today’s Youth

Zeal TN on Advocating for Today’s Youth

It’s been said that each generation has to face challenges unique to the era and conditions they were born in. The Greatest Generation had to suffer through a decade-plus of the Great Depression, only to find themselves tossed into the global upheaval of the Second World War. The Baby Boomers had to deal with the emergent order of the Cold War and the horrors of the Vietnam War, all the while struggling for the cause of civil rights. Generation X was at the forefront of the technological revolution, and for better or worse, had to adapt to a world that was rapidly becoming more interconnected thanks to computers, cell phones, and the World Wide Web. Millennials, meanwhile, came of age during the Global War on Terror, as well as the financial crisis and credit crunch of the mid-2000s and the resulting Great Recession.

Believe it or not, for the two generations born into the current millennium, things have gotten even murkier.

In recent years, with the relentless evolution of technology and the unfortunate realities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s safe to say that Gen Z and Gen Alpha have their own unique crosses to bear as they embrace and approach adulthood. In light of this, community action groups such as Zeal TN in Nashville have targeted the nation’s increasingly troubled and alienated youth as a cause around which to organize.

Zeal TN has identified three central areas to focus on when addressing the issues facing today’s youth.

Mental Wellness

Likely the single largest issue faced by the younger generations is that of mental wellness. Research indicates that both Gen Z and Gen Alpha report higher levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and mood disorders compared to previous generations. Although the causes of this phenomenon are somewhat debatable, a mix of social media immersion, academic pressure, societal expectations, and years of subjection to quarantine measures and state restrictions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic is almost surely to blame. Whatever the causes, the fact remains that there is a widespread mental health “pandemic” that requires nearly the same sense of urgency as the previous one. 

Physical Wellness 

Another consequence of the lifestyles of today’s youth is that physical wellness has been under-emphasized. Once again, there are several reasons for this, including increased time spent on digital platforms, a reduced emphasis on exercise and organized team sports, and parents being afraid of letting their children be too active on their own outdoors. The combination results in the current generations having far higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular issues much earlier in life than their predecessors. 

Economic Uncertainty

To exacerbate all of this, the economy is more volatile and unpredictable than at any time in modern history. With the post-war world order gradually fading away, a more globally oriented zeitgeist has taken hold. This has resulted in some harsh realities, particularly in North America. There is greater competition for spots in post-secondary schools and in the workforce; there’s a marked increase in the average amount of student debt per capita; and the cost of living is astronomical, with ballooning inflation making it steadily worse. These devolving conditions of everyday life carry the most far-reaching implications for Gen Z and Gen Alpha. To go along with this, there’s the ever-present threat of automation further limiting job opportunities. It’s hard to picture a world where the current generations can exceed or even meet the standard of living enjoyed by their parents and grandparents. 

Only through understanding the unique challenges of these generations can organizations like Zeal TN truly and effectively work towards nurturing their well-being, fostering their potential, and empowering them to thrive in this increasingly complicated world. By focusing on the three major issues of mental wellness, physical wellness, and economic uncertainty, Zeal TN creates powerful impacts by building empathy and understanding with the common struggles faced by today’s youth.