A new study has found that the pandemic has severely affected people’s mental health and relationships all over the world, particularly for young adults.
The third annual mental state of the world report (MSW) commissioned by Sapien Labs, a non-profit research organization, conducted a global survey to better understand the state of mental health.
The research compiled responses from over 400,000 participants across 64 countries, asking respondents about their family relationships, friendships and overall mental wellbeing.
The survey found that there has been little recovery in declining mental health during the pandemic, which the group measures by a score called “mental health quotient”. It had found that average score had declined by 33 points – on a 300-point scale – over the past two years and still showed no signs of recovery, remaining at the same level as 2021.
The survey also found that young adults were more likely to have mental health challenges compared with previous generations.
People aged 18 to 24 also had a lower “social self”, a metric that measures how an individual perceives themselves and the ability to maintain meaningful relationships. They were also three times more likely not to get along with family members, reporting higher rates of family instability and conflict.
Young adults were also more likely not to have close friends, compared with those 75 and older, reported the survey.
“This pattern, apparent even prior to the pandemic, represents a sharp reversal of patterns documented prior to 2010, indicating a dramatic decline in mental wellbeing with each younger generation rather than an increase in wellbeing as we age,” noted the study.
Family relationships are diminishing worldwide, according to the research, which could hurt a person’s mental health.
People with no close friendships and poor familial relationships are 10 times more likely to experience poor mental health, the research found.
Tara Thiagarajan, founder and chief scientist at Sapien Labs, said in a statement: “These data suggest that we have not fully appreciated the profoundly relational nature of the human psyche. As much as we may believe that we are each independent, our wellbeing is profoundly relational in nature.”
Tanzania, Panama, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela are countries with the highest rankings of mental health, whereas Britain, Ireland, Australia, South Africa and Brazil all have lower mental health rankings.