Mental health issues have been impacting social and personal lives of millions of people every day with almost 80 percent of the current population in this world being directly or indirectly impacted by either anxiety, depression, fear, sorrow, or factors of grief. However, the severity and the influence of mental illnesses have been multiplied drastically, still it is a taboo in many communities and undermined for debates and discussions. This post will be exploring the other side of mental health crisis which is often neglected and shut down in our society which revolves around the growth of a competitive ecosystem resulting in a vicious risk cycle for mental health issues in our youth.

“Mental health…is not a destination, but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you’re going.” — Noam Shpancer, PhD

The Competitive Ecosystem leading to Mental Health Crisis

It is important to understand and analyze the causes of mental illnesses in youth especially in today’s ever fast pacing world – lacking motivation and procrastination to begin with may lead to severe mental illnesses that can eventually deteriorate one’s physical and physiological health balance. What has changed between generations that has led to this crisis to surface as an epidemic in today’s youth. In my observation, the prevailing sense of competition and the race towards achieving higher grounds whether in personal relationships or professional environment, has played a significant role in elevating this issue. From a very young age, we are nurtured to excel and compete; some might argue that healthy competition leads to development and growth, however the ambition and passion to compete in almost everything and the uncanny comparison of achievements leads to overthinking. This is the onset for mental health issues! The advancements in professional ecosystems along with the evolution of technology and especially Artificial Intelligence has now led to an advanced dilemma of mental health crisis which impacts 1 in every 4 people according to demographic surveys. The known causes for mental health issues involve troubled childhood, substance abuse, violence, terrorism, bullying, and many other environmental factors. However, a very dominating cause can be associated where today’s youth has been forced to resort to unhealthy comparison of resources, goals, and vision which in turn leads to unresolved competition and the urge to excel beyond limits.

Understanding the Vicious Risk Cycle for Mental Illnesses

According to a study conducted by The Lancet Group on “Child and adolescent mental health worldwide: evidence for action”, the identification of triggering parameters at different phases of life have been discussed. Understanding that these triggers form a vicious interlinked cycle of risks associated with different phases of life prenatal stage to adolescence. Not only it affects one cycle of generation but also recirculates the trauma and the adverse effects to the future generations through expectations, assumptions, and competition. The results of this study are summarized in the following figure. The age specific risks for mental illnesses can either be related to genetic background, or environmental factors such as family, peer, or school environments. Risks can also be induced by lack of care and affection or an inadequate development of a nurturing environment. Over age, these risks start becoming permanent in nature and gradually form part of the personality and the overall formation of the individuals. Hence becoming more influential and damaging to one’s health. Not only violence and abuse translates into age long trauma but also the influence of the society leads to development of behavioral problems.

Credits: Lancet Group on “Child and adolescent mental health worldwide: evidence for action” (


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