Mental health plagues Gen-Y & Gen-Z + Edu: No making up for life shocks on children

50% of millennials have left a job for mental health reasons, a new study shows — and it speaks to some of the biggest problems plaguing the entire generation

EXCERPT: Half of millennials and 75% of Gen Z have left a job due to mental health reasons, according to a study ... significantly higher than the overall percentage of respondents ... That shift is no surprise, considering that millennials have also become known as "the therapy generation." They're cognizant about their mental health and helping to destigmatize therapy, Peggy Drexler wrote in an essay for The Wall Street Journal.

Millennials, she said, see therapy as a form of self-improvement — and they also suffer from a desire to be perfect, leading them to seek help when they feel they haven't met their expectations.

But their inclination towards therapy also highlights some of the biggest problems plaguing the generation. Depression is on the rise among millennials ... More millennials are also dying "deaths of despair" — deaths related to drugs, alcohol, and suicide ... There are a few reasons behind the uptick, one of which is that young adults are more inclined to engage in risk-taking behaviors. However, the report also identified ... the many financial problems millennials are facing ... (MORE - details)

Ethiopian parents can't make up for effects of life shocks on children by spending more on education

RELEASE: Ethiopian parents try to level out the life chances of least-advantaged children affected by early life shocks such as famine and low rainfall levels by investing more in their education. New research from Lancaster University and Heriot-Watt University shows parents in the African nation attempt to compensate disadvantaged children in their family by spending greater sums on school fees and private tuition. The research, published in the Journal of Population Economics, examines how parents respond to differing abilities of primary school-age children in the same family.

The researchers found that just under a quarter of parents in the Ethiopia survey reported paying educational fees, with 15 per cent overall differentiating the levels of investment for each child. However, in the end, the greater investment is relatively small in magnitude, and unable to compensate for the low-ability outcomes later in childhood.

"We found that, on average, parents would provide more investment, in terms of spending on educational fees, to a lower-ability child to try to reduce inequality between children in the household," said co-author Dr Catherine Porter, of Lancaster University Management School. The greater the disparity in ability, the greater the investment by the parents in the lower-ability child, supporting the concept that parents have an aversion to inequality among their children. This contradicts somewhat the hypothesis that, in poor countries, parents take the approach of investing in the better-off child to maximise the chances of one child getting a good education."

The research focuses on children who suffered a 'shock' to their early life investments due to low rainfall levels in their community before the age of 24 months. In Ethiopia, many rural households are dependent on rain-fed agriculture, so poor rainfall contributes to lower household income and therefore has a negative effect on nutritional investments to the children.

Cognitive ability among the children who were part of the study was based on the results of the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) for both siblings within a family group. The PPVT measures verbal ability and is a proxy for general cognitive development. The study found that elder siblings, who had no issues with rainfall in their early development, have significantly higher test scores relative to a peer group than their siblings. "The extra investment cannot make up entirely for the detrimental effects of an early-life shock such as through low levels of rainfall," added Dr Porter.

Evidence from the research suggests families with educated mothers, smaller household size and higher wealth are more likely to compensate with greater investment in lower-ability children. This is despite the fact that the study sample comes from the Young Lives cohort survey of poor Ethiopian children. "The compensatory parental responses appear to be concentrated in relatively higher socioeconomic status families, even in a poor overall sample," said co-author Wei Fan, of Heriot-Watt University. "Larger families with non-educated mothers and relatively lower wealth did try to compensate, but this was only to a modest degree."
Later "life shocks" after 24 months.

Main problems faced by children in Ethiopia

Under-5 mortality rate: 41%

Child Labor: Each year, upwards of 20,000 children, some as young as 10, are sold by their parents.

Child Prostitution: Ethiopian girls are shipped off to the Middle East, especially to Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. These girls, sometimes younger than 11 years old, are gathered specifically for prostitution.

Female genital mutilation is a common practice in Ethiopia.

Poverty: Ethiopia is a very poor country: more than 94.7% of its population earns less than two dollars per day.

Education: "School attendance became mandatory in 1997 for children from 7 to 16 years of age. Education is not free, however, and school fees are expensive – not to mention the cost of school supplies and uniforms. Education is much too expensive for many families, so some children simply cannot attend. Only 13% of children are even enrolled in secondary school. Also, classes are overcrowded (between 50 and 60 children per class), which makes learning difficult. Thus, the literacy rate for people above the age of 15 is only 57%."

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