Editorial: Our Future is Uncertain and Stressful


Piper Armstrong

(Graphic by Piper Armstrong | The Daily Utah Chronicle)


The world we are entering into is not a welcoming one. It’s not even promised. Our parents and grandparents grew up in a world with possibilities and chances for change. Institutional progress happened and changed society for the better.

But now, it seems like progress is a constant uphill battle.

Our lives as college students are now shaped by life-threatening events. We currently experience the direct consequences of irreversible climate change. We are battling an exhausting pandemic. Air pollution exacerbates environmental health disparities. We witness war-torn countries begging for help and assistance while we struggle on our own streets.

At home, poverty, sexism and racism persist. Housing shortages and rising costs of living make our future dreams more unattainable and unrealistic. Thousands are being forced into homelessness, while the incredibly wealthy and powerful continue to exploit everyday people for their benefit. Attacks on women’s rights and voters threaten to reverse milestone progress made decades ago. Our own schools have become battlegrounds for the debate to teach the history of people of color and the racism ingrained in our society.

This is the world we are entering — the world we live in.

A 2018 study by the American Psychologist Association found that 91% of Gen Z-ers from ages 18-21 experienced symptoms of stress in the month prior to the report. Furthermore, 68% of Gen Z-ers from that same study admitted to having significant stress surrounding the future of our nation. Of those participants, 75% experience stress about mass shootings. Climate change and global warming result in severe stress for 58% of Gen Z-ers. These numbers show that our generation feels more stress and pressure about the world’s biggest challenges.

Society continues to tell Gen Z that they will fix the world. But that sentiment places an unimaginable burden on us, severely affecting our mental health. It’s OK to feel overwhelmed, but we need to recognize that no one person or generation can solve the deep institutional problems we face.

The climate crisis requires big changes in production and industry around the world. To start addressing racism, our country needs to make large-scale institutional changes to the justice system and workplace environments. To decrease income inequality, we have to make large-scale legislative changes.

We can’t take responsibility for changes that require everyone to come together or choices that are inaccessible for whatever reason. We can, however, make individual choices that align with our values and the things we want to see happen in the world. Small choices like going the extra effort to recycle, thrifting clothes, being water conscious during droughts and being an active citizen add up to big change. We can support important initiatives to increase awareness. We often become more conscious because of the people around us.

According to research, Gen Z is “the most depressed generation” — likely because of all these stressors. But the little things we do can help us individually feel at peace with the tumultuous world we live in.

Serving others, for example, has been shown to benefit mental health. Doomscrolling severely affects mental health, so taking some time away from social media to do more productive things can also help. Simply talking about your feelings from all these crises can benefit not just you, but those around you who won’t feel alone in their worry anymore. We may not be able to fix everything. But helping ourselves and one another can go above and beyond — and sometimes, it’s all we can do.


The Daily Utah Chronicle Editorial Board is a group of senior opinion journalists who rely on research and debate to write staff editorials. Editorials represent the majority view of the editorial board and are written separately from the newsroom.