Undergraduate interns conduct peer survey for 80dB Communications, mental health top priority


A  80dB Communications survey by young adults for young adults finds that one out of every two respondents feel the need to seek therapy to cope with their mental health struggles. Young women (45%) more than men (25%) feel the need to speak to a health professional whereas 50% prefer to speak with their friends.

These insights are derived from a study conducted with 250+ young adults, aged 17-24 years, under 80 dB Perspectives, an insight driven project to understand different audiences, their preferences and motivations. 

The young interns were given the freedom to design and conduct the survey amongst their peers. The survey seeks to understand their multiple personas from that of a fresh-faced voter, as a student, consumer to a future employee.

Commenting on how the survey was designed Riya Ray Chaudhury said, “The process of building this survey was a gruelling one, from drafts and drafts of the questionnaire to scanning our contact list for respondents, we’ve had to clear many obstacles. It has, however, also been great to see our work being appreciated. Although young adults are important for businesses, we hope that the results of our survey drives home the need to pay attention to the mental health of young adults by schools, parents, and companies alike."

Anushka Bellani, shared her experience in interning at a communications firm saying, “From learning the difference between a wire agency and a news portal, to attempting to map out the share of voice for a prospective client and tracing the highs and lows of one’s LinkedIn engagement chart, working at a PR firm has been nothing short of an ideal learning experience.From the day that we first started to now, there’s been immense growth in not only our knowledge of the communications and PR industry but also in our ability to take initiative, conduct presentations and say more with less.”

Mental health impact of pandemic on young adults

Faced with the loneliness and isolation caused by the pandemic, 95% of young women and 75% of young men  in the survey report that COVID-19 has had a negative effect on their mental health. 

Overall, nearly 40% of young adults do not attend therapy, but feel the need to. This may be accredited to the stigma associated with seeking therapy or the inaccesibility of mental health resources in India.

Politics and YAs 

As per a YouGov-Mint-CPR Millennial Survey conducted in 2020, Gen Z is more active in online campaigns and protests than any other age group. This assertiveness suggests that the youngest age group is searching for a distinct political vision. 

The survey corroborates these findings with over 90% of young adults saying that they intend to vote once eligible. The second wave saw civil society stepping in to help people across the country, causing over 90% of young adults to feel extremely dissatisfied with the government’s response to COVID-19. When asked about issues that plague the world today, 85% strongly agree that there are not enough policies in India to combat gender disparity, 65% of young adults believe that the government has not created adequate privacy and data protection laws and over 80% of young adults feel that the government’s response to the climate crisis has been inadequate.

Young Adults and their ideal workplace

Young adults also weighed in on what would make for their ideal workplace. 40% of young adults say that they would value a comfortable and open work environment. Women prioritised this more, with over 50% of young women confirming that this would be a key determinant to select an employer. A company’s stated purpose also emerges as a key determinant to selection. Nearly all young adults said that a company’s ethos via-a-vis the environment, society, politics and economic impact would influence their decision making. 

Further, being thrust into the workforce while the world is still recovering from the effects of a deadly pandemic, over 70% of young adults seem concerned about their job prospects.

Finally, young adults also wish to be conscious consumers and like to be aware (90%) of the work practices and environmental impact the brands they buy are having. However, only a few admit to having been able to convert their awareness into practice.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has totally upended our way of life—how we work, study, socialise, shop, and more—and young adults have been especially impacted. As future citizens and voters, consumers and employees, our survey attempts to get behind what these young adults are thinking, and to build a bridge between generational mindsets that may help businesses with insights they need to address this demographic”, said Kiran Ray Chaudhury, co-founder and Jt. managing director, 80 dB Communications.

Survey Methodology

The survey was conducted online in May 2021 with 254 young adults, aged 17 through 24, pan India. Of these, 64% are female, 30% are male and 5% are non-binary.