‘Kind’ Communities Foster Youth Mental Health, Study Finds
Young people who describe their environments as “kind” are more likely to be mentally healthy, a study funded by the Born This Way Foundation has shown.
Conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group, the study, Kind Communities: A Bridge to Youth Mental Health, employed a short version of the Mental Health Inventory developed by the RAND Corporation.
The survey asks: “How much of the time, during the past month have you 1) been a happy person; 2) felt calm and peaceful; 3) been a very nervous person; 4) felt downhearted and blue; and 5) felt so down in the dumps that nothing could cheer you up.
- Kindness matters.
Young people who describe their environments as kind are more likely to be mentally healthy. That’s true for youth in high schools, colleges, and the workplace.
- Peer networks matter.
Youth rely on a small set of close friends for support. And while young people also talk with their parents about important issues, parents don’t necessarily understand what’s going on with their children emotionally or what they’re willing to discuss.
- Mental health resources matter.
Young people with access to tangible resources are more mentally healthy. Furthermore, youth want to empower themselves with knowledge and skills to support their own wellness – and assist a friend who might be in crisis – but we need to do a better job providing those resources.
According to the study, youth who describe their environment — whether a high school, college, or workplace — as “kind” are more likely to be mentally healthy.
The survey, which included interviews of more than 3.000 young people between the ages of 15 and 24 and over a 1.000 parents, found that youth rely on a small set of close friends for support, though they also discuss concerns with their parents. However, respondents indicated that when they do talk with their parents about important issues, parents often don’t understand what’s going on with their children emotionally.
The study also found that young people are eager to empower themselves with knowledge and skills to support their own wellness — or assist a friend who might be in crisis — but say that they need more resources to help them do so.