From January 29, 2021 to February 12, 2021, Born This Way Foundation worked with The Harris Poll to survey over 2,000 young people ages 13 to 24 in the United States. We explored how young people define kindness, the impact of kindness on mental wellness, and how young people are using kindness to cope with overlapping and ongoing crises.
The results reveal an undeniable link to how kindness contributes to many aspects of mental wellness, from helping young people feel safe, confident, and less alone to changing the trajectory of their day and even their desire to stay alive. They also reveal that based on one’s race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and financial security, young people experience and witness kindness in varying frequencies, which could have further implications on their respective mental wellness.
Key findings of the survey include:
- Most young people say experiencing more kindness would improve their mental wellness—be it from others (73%), themselves (74%), or observed in the world around them (71%).
- The acts of kindness young people most commonly say would have the biggest impact on their mental wellness are having someone who: listens when they have a problem (85% say it would have a big/moderate impact), believes in them and encourages them to do their best (83%), and checks in on them or asks if they’re doing OK (80%).
- White youth are more likely than Black, Indigenous, and youth of color to say they experience certain acts of kindness. White youth are far more likely to have someone who believes in them and encourages them to do their best, goes out of their way to show they care, or listens when they have a problem.
- Transgender and non-binary youth* say that the act of introducing yourself using pronouns is among the top acts that would have a big improvement on mental wellness. (*Note: Small sample size [n=45]. Results should be interpreted as qualitative in nature.)
- Three quarters of young people are coping very (19%) or somewhat well (56%), and those who are, are much more likely than those who are not to say they regularly experience and witness acts of kindness, have people in their life who care about them, understand them, or that they can talk to if they have problems, say they have a place they can go (in real life or online) where they feel like they belong, and have found ways to thrive in the past year, ultimately giving insight into the keys to coping with crisis.
Find the full report below.