Sapien Labs Releases the 4th Annual Mental State of the World Report

Sapien Labs has released its latest Mental State of the World Report, which looks at mental wellbeing in internet-enabled populations around the globe—and indicates a continuation in the the worldwide decline that started during the COVID pandemic, hitting younger generations the hardest: 

This Mental State of the World Report is the annual report of the Global Mind Project and provides trends and insights on the mental wellbeing of Internet-enabled populations around the globe. In 2023, we collected data from over 500,000 respondents in 13 languages across 71 countries that spanned 9 regions. . . . 

Key insights this year are as follows:

  • Mental wellbeing remained at its post-pandemic low with yet again no sign of movement towards pre-pandemic levels. In 2023, at both a global level and at the level of individual countries, MHQ scores remained largely unchanged relative to 2021 and 2022, after a sharp drop during the pandemic years. This raises important questions about the lasting impact of the pandemic, and how shifts in the way we live and work and the amplification of existing habits (e.g. remote working, online communication, consumption of ultra-processed food, use of single- use plastics) have cumulatively pushed us into a space of poorer mental wellbeing.
  • Younger generations, particularly those under age 35, saw the steepest declines in mental wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic while those over 65 stayed steady. With these declines persisting across all age groups, the pandemic amplified a pre-existing trend of poorer mental wellbeing for younger generations that is now visible across the globe.
  • As in previous years, several African and Latin American countries topped the country rankings, while wealthier countries of the Core Anglosphere such as the United Kingdom and Australia are towards the bottom. This pattern suggests that greater wealth and economic development do not necessarily lead to greater mental wellbeing. In 2023, data from the Global Mind Project identified key factors that explain these patterns, such as getting a smartphone at a young age, frequently eating ultra-processed food and a fraying of friendships and family relationships, that are typically more prevalent in Internet-enabled populations of wealthier countries.

Overall, the insights in this report paint a worrying picture of our post-pandemic prospects and we urgently need to better understand the drivers of our collective mental wellbeing such that we can align our ambitions and goals with the genuine prosperity of human beings.”

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