We’re proud to share our latest report with you, Kind Communities: Perspectives from Work and Returning to School among Young People, a continuation of our 2017 Kind Communities study which seeks to understand the factors that impact youth mental health and underscores the importance of kindness in our society. As we strive to build a kinder, braver world in partnership with Cotton On Foundation (learn more here!), we wanted to explore the relationship between young people and their schools, workplaces, classmates, and co-workers with particular interest in how these environments and relationships, and the kindness within them, affect youth well-being.
A few highlights from our report:
- Fewer than half of school students report feeling a part of a kind community. The landscape students and young workers are navigating has become harder for them since 2017, exacerbated by the pandemic. 47% of school students in 6th-12th grades report feeling a part of a “kind community”, a drop of 14% in 6 years.
- Fewer workers and students report feeling a part of a kind community than in 2017. Meanwhile, 44% of students in college, university, or graduate school report feeling a part of a kind community (down 8% since 2017), and 55% of young workers report feeling a part of a kind community (down 5% since 2017).
- Kindness is not experienced equally. LGBTQ+ young people in schools and workplaces are less likely than non-LGBTQ+ youth to say they experience kindness.
- Mental health is not covered in school, and when it is, it’s inconsistent. Nearly 4-in-10 school students say mental health is not a topic covered in any curriculum – and for those who are taught about the topic, the quality of classes is not consistently delivering the competencies for all students to develop mental health literacy.
- Less than 1-in-3 school students say that training is offered at their schools to learn how to emotionally support their peers.
- Many young workers lack critical benefits that support their wellbeing. Fewer than half of young workers are provided mental healthcare by their workplaces.
As a member of our Born This Way Foundation community, you understand deeply the importance of kindness in environments where young people live, work, learn, and play, and we hope that with this report, you will learn how you can help build kinder environments for the benefit of your own and others’ mental health.