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Expand chart

A new survey of people in eight countries finds that mental wellness took a dive in 2020, with the worst effects found among the young.

Why it matters: Few people's mental health escaped unscathed from the effects of the pandemic, but the gap between the state of the young versus older adults could mean serious problems down the road.

What's happening: Earlier this week, Sapien Labs — a nonprofit that works to understand the human mind — released its 2020 Mental State of the World report.

  • The report compiles tens of thousands of responses from eight English-speaking countries, including the U.S., to provide a snapshot of what Sapien founder Tara Thiagarajan calls "mental wellbeing — the full breadth of your emotional and social and cognitive function and capability."

By the numbers: Not surprisingly, given... everything, the overall mental wellbeing score dropped significantly in 2020 from the year before, with the percentage of respondents falling into the clinical risk level rising from 14% in 2019 to 26% in 2020.

  • Notably, though, the crisis was particularly pronounced among young adults aged 18–24, nearly half of whom reported clinical levels of risk, compared to 6% for those 65 and over.

What they're saying: "What we're seeing is kind of terrifying," says Thiagarajan. "44% of young people are experiencing symptoms of such severity that they find in a big challenge to function effectively in life."

Yes, but: School closures and early job losses took a particularly profound toll on the young during the pandemic — which hopefully won't be repeated — and it's possible the high levels of mental wellbeing in older people shows that we can gain emotional resiliency as we age.

  • Because the survey was only in English and accessed over the internet, it may not be fully representative of the countries' populations.

The bottom line: Still, notes Thiagarajan, the results are a warning sign for the future.

  • "If this group comes into middle age and instead of having an average of 15% with mental health issues you instead have 40%, that's a fundamentally different society," she says.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Facebook paying up to $14M to settle employment discrimination claims

Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook has agreed to pay up to $14.25 million to settle allegations that it discriminated against American workers by reserving positions for temporary visa holders, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The settlement represents the largest civil penalty and monetary award that the Civil Rights Division has recovered in the 35-year history of the Immigration and Nationality Act's anti-discrimination provision.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Mapping repression in China's Xinjiang region

Data: © Mapbox, © OpenStreetMap; Map: Will Chase/Axios

A sweeping new report released today by an Australian research organization reveals new details about how the Chinese Communist Party — and specifically who within the party — is carrying out its campaign of repression in Xinjiang.

Why it matters: Uncovering the actual offices and individuals implementing the Chinese government's genocide and forced labor policies in Xinjiang can bring accountability and help international companies delink supply chains in compliance with U.S. and EU forced labor laws.

Report: U.S. Latinos near 50% homeownership rate

Real estate broker Alex Betances sits in front of a home in Reading, Pa. Photo: Ryan McFadden/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Image

Latinos increased their homeownership rate to nearly 50% in 2020, according to a report from a group monitoring U.S. Hispanic wealth creation.

Why it matters: The Hispanic Wealth Project found that the homeownership rate grew despite the lack of diversified financial assets among Latinos and around 15% who still live below the federal poverty line ($26,500 for a family of four).