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Kindness Is Action Report
Understanding the impact of kindness on the
mental health of young people, particularly during
overlapping and ongoing crises
A Letter From the Foundation
2
Kindness is powerful. We feel the push of it in our lives, moving us forward and giving us
warmth, hope, and joy. We feel the strength of its absence, when we find ourselves excluded,
alone, or experiencing meanness. The transformative impact that kindness has had on one
life – that of our friend and co-founder, Stefani, whom you may know as Lady Gaga – is what
propelled Born This Way Foundation into the world almost a decade ago. The continued, life-
saving impact of kindness and its tie to our ability to survive and thrive, is what inspires and
motivates our team at the Foundation every day.
In this research, we sought out to understand – from the young people with whom and for
whom we do this work – how they define kindness, where (and if) they experience kindness
firsthand, and the impact that it has on their mental wellness and resilience. Individual and
collective acts of kindness were made visible on the world stage in this past year with
students and teachers teaming up to build new learning systems, communities coming
together to celebrate and thank frontline workers, people across the globe coming together
to demand a more just world, and more. We hoped to understand, through our research, the
big and small ways kindness can shape, and when needed, save a single life.
In Kindness Is Action, we learned young people are supporting themselves, and each other.
And kindness to themselves and one another isn’t just a nice to do, it’s a need to do,
especially given the toll this past year has taken on this generation. The respondents to this
survey and the young people we work with every day know so personally the inextricable link
between kindness and mental wellness. It’s not a case that needs to be made for them, it’s a
daily experience that they have in their communities – online and otherwise – and there are
small, meaningful steps that we can each take to create kind, affirming environments. It is
important to note that while kindness is free and hopefully accessible to all, there are
communities of young people that self-report far fewer opportunities to experience and
witness kindness personally.
As the world begins to imagine how to emerge from the pandemic and work toward building
just systems, redefining care and community, and addressing the overwhelming needs that
have emerged for so many, kindness is an essential part of the equation. Young people not
only relied on kindness to survive these times, but also expressed the belief that kindness is
the way forward, a principle that we, as parents, partners, children, neighbors, friends,
humans – and a foundation – remain committed to.
To you, the person who is reading this report, thank you. Thank you for surviving this year, for
helping others survive whether you realize you were helping or not, for believing in kindness,
and for seeking it out when it’s available and creating it when it’s not. It matters. You, your
journey, and your kindness matter.
Table of Contents
3
Survey Method
04
Executive Summary
05
Defining Kindness
06
Impact of Kindness
10
Kindness in Times of Crises
18
Contact
24
Survey Method
4
When reading the report, please keep in mind:
• Percentages may not add up to 100% due to weighting and/or computer rounding and the
acceptance of multiple responses.
• Unless otherwise noted, results for the Total (all ages 13-24) are displayed.
• Throughout, statistically significant differences at the 95% confidence interval for groups of
interest (age, gender, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, and financial security) have been included
(where applicable) in the “Spotlight” section at the bottom of the page. Note that due to space
limitations, not all differences are displayed. Regarding the groups:
– LGBTQ+ young people (n=355) are those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer,
pansexual, asexual, questioning or other sexual orientation and/or transgender, non-binary or
gender non-conforming.
– Black, Indigenous, and youth of color (n=782) are those who identify as Black or African
American, Hispanic or Latinx, Asian or Pacific Islander, Native American or Alaskan Native, or
other race.
– Less financially secure young people (n=400) are those who say they have or their family has a
hard time buying the things they need.
Mode:
15-minute
online survey
Survey Timing:
January 29 –
February 12, 2021
Audience:
2,008 13-24
year olds
residing in the
U.S.
Weighting:
Data are weighted
to ensure results
are projectable to
the U.S. population
of 13-24 year olds
Executive Summary
It’s a widely accepted truism that kindness matters. Young people learn the message “be
kind to others” at an early age through school curriculum, children’s books, and life lessons
from parents/guardians. And now in 2021, after a year of living through a pandemic, that
message strongly resonates among youth. Above all, young people indicate kindness is
rooted in action – it is more than just being nice (56%) – it is doing something for someone
else without expecting anything in return (62%) and it is shown through actions (59%). And
for nearly all, little acts of kindness make a big difference (94%).
Most young people go on to say that experiencing kindness boosts their mental wellness—
whether it is receiving it from others (73%), witnessing it in the world (71%), or even just
being kinder to themselves (74%). Despite this incredible impact, it is important to note that
not all young people regularly experience kindness with fairly few reporting that they
strongly agree that they regularly receive (25%) or witness (16%) kindness or are often kind
to themselves (29%). And further, results reveal a kindness divide with certain groups (such
as Black, Indigenous, and youth of color, those who are less financially secure, and LGBTQ+
youth) experiencing less kindness than others, potentially impacting their mental wellness.
Given its impact on mental wellness, the importance and benefits of kindness should not be
underestimated, particularly during tough times — nearly all young people say kindness
helps them get through (92%) and is the way forward (93%). While many young people
admit they’ve had a hard time getting through the past year (69%) and feel like they are
shouldering more than ever before (74%), it has also shined light on the value of kindness
and the resilience of our youth. Young people have been resourceful and found ways to
manage through the uncertainty – whether it is discovering new hobbies/interests (72%),
developing stronger relationships with friends/family (70%), or being inspired to contribute
to their communities in new and different ways (61%). In fact, the vast majority say that
everything that has gone on over the last 12 months has made them want to be a kinder
person (79%) and that they are optimistic that the coming years will be better than the last
(77%). Additionally, those who have had an easier time coping during the pandemic are
more likely to have experienced acts of kindness over the past year, to have observed more
kindness in the world around them, to have maintained a positive outlook and be optimistic
about the future.
The close relationship between resilience and kindness, a potential hallmark of this
generation, is noteworthy. Connecting young people to tools and resources so they can
continue focusing on sharing with themselves and others, especially through tough times,
may help them learn to cope with difficult situations, setting them up for improved mental
wellness and a kinder future.
5
Defining Kindness
While kindness can be many things, above all, it is
rooted in action.
6
48%
47%
45%
39%
39%
37%
1%
What brings us all together
About how you treat
yourself, not just others
More important than ever before
Something that helps you
heal when you are hurting
What makes life worth living
Easy to do
Other
For Young People, Kindness Is Action
What does it mean to be kind? More than half of young people agree that it’s more than just
being nice—it’s doing something for someone else without expecting anything in return, and
notably, it’s something that is shown through actions. And this definition holds true across
all young people, regardless of who they are. However, according to young people, kindness
is not something that is necessarily always easy to do. By their definition alone, we see both
understanding and respect for this simultaneously simple and complex gesture. And as you
will see in this report, more than what kindness is, we’ll explore the incredible impact it can
have on young people’s lives.
% who say that kindness is...
62%
Doing something for
someone else without
expecting anything in return
59%
Shown through actions
56%
More than just being
nice to someone
7
SPOTLIGHT
Female and LGTBQ+ youth are more likely than their counterparts to say kindness is about how you
treat yourself, not just others.
In Their Own Words
8
“My professor reached out to ask if I
was alright because I had been skipping
class, which I never used to do.”
– Transgender youth, 23
“My father held my hand and started
talking to me about my problems.”
– Cisgender male, 13
“Someone noticed I was down and
helped me without asking for anything
in return and was all around a kind
person.”
– Cisgender female, 18
“Openly accepting me coming out as
trans.”
– Transgender youth, 14
“They wanted to talk about how I was
doing with how everything suddenly
changed last spring.”
– Non-binary youth, 21
“I boarded a bus to my school. On my
arrival I found out that I had no money
on me. But someone politely accepted
to pay for.”
– Cisgender female, 18
When asked to describe the last time someone was kind to them, young people tell us from
their own perspectives and experiences that kindness is many things, from helping to pay for
a bus ticket, to providing a listening ear, to acceptance of them for who they are. Beyond the
act itself, there was a common theme that kindness is done willingly or by choice.
Think back to the last time you felt someone was kind to you.
What did they do that you felt was kind?
(Open-ended question)
“The last time someone was kind to me,
they offered to help me with a very hard
chore. And it was very helpful because it
would have sucked to do it alone, but
together we prevailed.”
– Cisgender male, 19
“The last time someone was kind to me
was when they caught me and my
family sleeping in the car in their
parking lot, and instead of calling the
police they offered us bottled waters. It
was very hot in the middle of the
summer. I thought that was a very kind
gesture.”
– Cisgender female, 16
Inspiration To Be Kind Comes From All Corners Of Their
World, Including From Within
9
Young people draw inspiration to be kind from a variety of people and places, but it’s
parents/guardians who are the ones building a foundation of kindness for the next
generation and it’s essential for them to understand that they hold the keys to encouraging
their children to create a kinder world. And though parents are by far the most common
source of inspiration, the second most common source is: themselves—more than half of
young people say they draw inspiration from within when it comes to being kind.
34%
28%
22%
19%
15%
12%
11%
8%
2%
2%
Other family members
My religious or spiritual beliefs
My teachers
Others being unkind
Living in a community that fosters kindness
Social media influencers
Classes in school
Celebrities
Government leaders
Other
63%
My parent(s)/
guardians
53%
Myself
51%
My friends
43%
Others
being kind
SPOTLIGHT
While parents/guardians commonly inspire young people of all ages to be kind, they are especially
influential on 13-17 year olds. As teens enter young adulthood, friends—as well as themselves– start
to have an equal influence as parents. Similarly, while parents are a top source of inspiration for
LGBTQ+ young people, they are less likely than their counterparts to say so and their parents have a
roughly equal influence as their friends and themselves in inspiring kindness.
Who or what most inspires you to be kind?
Impact of Kindness
Kindness and mental wellness are closely linked, with
even small acts of kindness leading to big
improvements in mental wellness.
10
I am kind to myself often
I regularly receive kindness
from others
I regularly see kindness in
the world
38%
35%
35%
35%
38%
36%
74%
73%
71%
They were kinder to themselves
They received more kindness
from others
They saw more kindness in
the world
29%
25%
16%
42%
49%
43%
71%
74%
59%
SPOTLIGHT
Though most young people can agree that being kinder to themselves would improve their mental
wellness and that being kind to themselves is just as important as being kind to others, cisgender
female and LGBTQ+ youth are less likely than their counterparts to say they are often kind to
themselves. Giving young people, especially these groups, the tools and permission to be kind to
themselves could play a critical role in strengthening mental wellness.
Young People Embrace Kindness As A Way To Improve Their
Mental Health
11
Most young people say experiencing more kindness—be it from others, themselves, or
observed in the world around them—would improve their mental wellness. In fact, a third or
more say it would have a big improvement. However, despite overwhelming agreement that
little acts of kindness can make a big difference, there are still young people who don’t feel
strongly (or even at all) that they experience kindness in these ways, especially when it
comes to seeing kind acts in the world around them.
say little acts of kindness can make a big difference
94%
■ Big improvement ■ Moderate improvement ■ Strongly agree ■ Somewhat agree
% agree with statements about
personal experiences with kindness
% say it would have a big/moderate
improvement on mental wellness if…
There’s an Undeniable Link Between Kindness and Mental
Wellness
Not only do young people report that regularly receiving and witnessing kindness, and that
being kind to themselves would improve their mental wellness, but those who say they have
excellent/good mental wellness are in fact far more likely to say they actually do regularly
receive kindness, witness kindness, and are often kind to themselves. This stated and observed
link between kindness and mental wellness underscores the importance and urgency of
ensuring all young people have someone in their lives to show them kindness, and especially to
encourage young people to be kind to themselves.
% agree with statements about personal experiences with kindness
by stated mental wellness
86%
81%
67%
46%
62%
45%
I am kind to myself
often
I regularly receive
kindness from others
I regularly see kindness
in the world
■ Good/Excellent mental wellness ■ Fair/Poor mental wellness
12
% say it would have a big/
moderate improvement on
mental wellness if…
Someone listens when
they have a problem 71%
Someone believes in them
and encourages them to
do their best
69%
Someone checks-in on them/
asks if they’re doing OK 68%
Someone helps them when
they don't have to 57%
Someone goes out of their
way to show them they care 51%
Someone shows up to
support them if they have
events or activities
53%
Someone notices when they’re
having a bad day 61%
Someone helps them get the
support that they need 49%
Someone compliments them 62%
Someone leaves positive or
supportive comments on
their social media posts
39%
51%
51%
44%
42%
45%
44%
43%
39%
38%
32%
33%
32%
36%
37%
34%
34%
35%
37%
35%
30%
■ Big improvement ■ Moderate improvement
Small Acts of Kindness Lead to Big Improvements
Since not all young people are fortunate enough to have someone in their life to count on to
demonstrate kindness, meaningful differences in mental health may be achieved by
encouraging the acts of kindness that have big improvements, but fewer individuals receive
(e.g., 79% say someone going out of their way to show they care would have an impact, but
only 51% currently receive). The acts of kindness young people most commonly say would
have the biggest impact on their mental wellness are having someone who listens, believes
in them, and checks-in on them. These are also among the top acts young people
experience today, and while the other acts of kindness all have a significant impact on
mental wellness, they aren’t as universally experienced.
% receive act of
kindness from others
Act of kindness
received from others
71%
69%
68%
57%
51%
53%
61%
49%
62%
39%
85%
83%
80%
79%
79%
78%
78%
76%
73%
63%
13
14
SPOTLIGHT
Those who regularly receive kindness from others are far more likely than
those who don’t to say each act of kindness would help to improve their
mental wellness. If young people experiencing less kindness don’t know the
positive impact it may have, they may not know to look for it as a way to help
improve mental wellness, which may be even more critical in times of crisis or
when other resources are harder to access.
The hidden value in receiving kindness
Young people across different races and ethnicities have similar views on the
mental wellness impact of receiving different acts of kindness. However, the
presence (or absence) of kindness varies greatly for most of the acts of
kindness evaluated: white youth are more likely than Black, Indigenous, and
youth of color to say they experience them. In particular, 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.
Racial divide in kindness received
Those who live at home with a parent or guardian are far more likely than
those who don’t to say they have someone in their life to show them nearly
all of the acts of kindness evaluated—often by large margins (e.g., 75% of
young people who live with a parent/guardian say they have someone who
listens when they have a problem compared to only 58% of those who don’t).
Preparing young people for the transition to young adulthood and leaving
home with the knowledge of this difference and the guidance to fill the
kindness gap, could help to mitigate the potential impact on mental wellness,
especially since the stated impact of the acts of kindness is fairly aligned
between the two groups. Or better yet, empower these young people, as
peers, to fill the void for their fellow young adults.
Finding kindness outside the home
People they know standing up
for others 55%
People in their community going
out of their way to help others 46%
People in their community
wearing masks in public to
protect others from COVID-19
61%
People they know volunteering
their time or donating money 44%
People they know standing up
for things that matter to me on
social media
40%
People they know sharing
information to help others on
social media
44%
People they know participating
in civic activities 34%
People they know calling out
misinformation on social media 30%
People they know introducing
themselves using their pronouns 29%
Kindness Observed Also Improves Mental Health, But Is
Severely Lacking
15
The impact of witnessing someone standing up for others or going out of their way to help
others, is quite significant—especially considering 43% of young people tell us that witnessing
others being kind inspires them to do the same. Other observed acts of kindness have an
impact for a majority, including people introducing themselves using their pronouns, (which
is particularly meaningful for transgender and non-binary youth). That said, observing
kindness does not impact mental wellness to the same extent as being the recipient of
kindness, nor (perhaps due to pandemic restrictions) is it observed nearly as frequently.
44%
39%
38%
32%
30%
29%
26%
25%
24%
33%
34%
31%
34%
35%
34%
33%
31%
30%
% regularly observe
act of kindness
Act of kindness
others perform
■ Big improvement ■ Moderate improvement
% say it would have a big/
moderate improvement on
mental wellness if…
55%
46%
61%
44%
40%
44%
34%
30%
29%
77%
73%
69%
66%
66%
63%
59%
56%
54%
16
*Note: Small sample size (n=45). Results should be interpreted as qualitative in nature.
SPOTLIGHT
For transgender and non-binary youth* the act of introducing yourself using
pronouns is one of the top kind behaviors that can have a big improvement on
mental wellness (second only to seeing people stand up for others) and they are
much more likely than cisgender youth to say the same (where this action falls
to the bottom of the list of actions that would have a big improvement on
mental wellness). The good news is, transgender and non-binary youth are
more likely to say they regularly witness others they know doing it, so the more
we can encourage this behavior and make it the norm, the better.
Pronoun use makes a big impression on transgender and non-binary youth
Mask wearing is viewed by most young people as an act of kindness that can
have a big/moderate improvement on mental wellness, and also happens to
be the most commonly observed act of kindness evaluated. In fact, young
people across all regions of the US and urbanicities, are equally likely to say
they witness people in their communities wearing masks in public to protect
others from COVID-19. Of note, Black youth (while no more or less likely than
others to observe mask wearing) are more likely than White and LatinX young
people to say seeing others wear masks has a big/moderate improvement on
their mental wellness. Given the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has
had on the Black community, it is a tremendous indication that Black youth
embody kindness by looking past their own needs and caring for others in
their community (who may be more likely to be impacted by COVID).
Pandemic-related safety measure does more than protect physical wellness
Surrounding certain groups with more opportunities to feel and see kindness in
the world around them would improve mental health. Those who are less
financially secure, older (18-24), and LGBTQ+ are less likely than their
counterparts to say they regularly see kindness in the world. As is the case for
their counterparts, for all three groups, the act of kindness that would most
commonly have a big improvement on mental wellness is witnessing someone
they know standing up for others. Speaking up for and supporting those in
need, may have a ripple effect—not only impacting the individual needing
support, but those around them who witness that type of caring and kindness.
Kindness has a ripple effect
In Their Own Words
17
“It made me feel better, and that life
was worth continuing.”
– Transgender youth, 19
“It changed everything.”
– Cisgender female, 19
“I had a better day and I was being
nicer to myself and others.”
– Cisgender female, 22
“It made me feel safe and happy. They
know I struggle with feeling important,
so they took the time to show me I am.”
– Non-binary youth, 19
“It made me more confident in myself
and happy.”
– Cisgender male, 13
“I felt really good that day and after that
I tried to do the same for everyone else
too.”
– Cisgender male, 17
When asked to describe how they felt the last time someone was kind to them, or what
impact that kindness had, young people leave no doubt of the importance and impact of
kindness. Kindness contributes to many aspects of wellness from helping them to feel safe
and confident to less alone, with many mentioning that it has the power to change the
trajectory of their day, or even their desire to stay alive.
Think back to the last time you felt someone was kind to you.
What did they do that you felt was kind?
(Open-ended question)
“It just made me feel worth it and that
someone actually wanted to be with
me.”
– Cisgender male, 18
“I felt really good and that someone my
age could relate to how I was feeling
and what I was saying, I saw that there
is good out there and things aren't
always as bad as you think.”
– Cisgender female, 16
“Their kindness made me feel welcome
and view them as even better than I did
before.”
– Non-binary youth, 17
“That it’s ok to be me.”
– Transgender youth, 14
Kindness in Times of Crises
Young people are using kindness to cope with
overlapping and ongoing crises, emphasizing that even
in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles,
kindness is the way forward.
18
Very well
19%
Somewhat
well
56%
Not well
25%
Would you say your mental wellness is
better, worse, or the same as it was prior
to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic?
How well would you say you are coping
with everything that has happened in the
past year?
Better
21%
About the
same
39%
Worse
41%
The Crises of 2020 Take a Toll
19
SPOTLIGHT
The past year has challenged young people in unimaginable ways, bringing turmoil and
uncertainty, and taking a toll on mental health. Most young people acknowledge the weight
of these hardships and the difficulties the year has presented. With so many recognizing that
their mental health has declined and so few coping “very well,” how do we help young
people navigate through? Later in this section we’ll learn more about the young people who
are coping well to give us some insight and clues.
Unsurprisingly, there are disparities in how young people have fared over the past year. Cisgender
female and LGBTQ+ youth are disproportionately impacted—and compared to their counterparts,
18-24 year olds and financially insecure young people are really struggling to cope during the
pandemic. These results and differences highlight the need for targeted, actionable tools to help
young people learn to cope and maintain mental wellness during hard times.
% agree with statements about coping during the pandemic
76% say it has been really
hard to be away from friends
and/or family because of
pandemic restrictions
74% feel like they are
dealing with more now
than they ever have before
69% have had a hard
time getting through the
past year
Amid Turmoil and Stress, Young People Find Optimism,
Appreciation, and Inspiration
20
From new hobbies to connecting with nature to stronger personal relationships, the many
hardships young people have faced over the past year have not impeded their positive
outlook. Encouragingly, most young people are optimistic that the future is bright, and some
are even emerging with new inspiration to contribute to their communities in new and
different ways. However, while some appear to be thriving, we know that so many others
are not, and since those who are coping well are far more likely to identify all of these
positive outcomes, it is imperative to understand and help those who may have a harder
time finding them.
SPOTLIGHT
Because outlook and appreciation for the positives may play a key role in coping and building
resilience, it’s important to acknowledge who may struggle to find it. Older (age 18-24), LGBTQ+,
and less financially secure young people are less likely than their counterparts to express some of
these attitudes and beliefs.
I am optimistic that the
coming years will be
better than the past
year
77%
I have received more
emotional support from
my family and friends
77%
I've discovered new
hobbies or interests
72%
I now have stronger
relationships with my
friends and family
70%
I've enjoyed spending
more time outdoors
66%
I've been inspired
to contribute to my
community in new and
different ways
61%
% agree with statements about 2020 impacts
Young People Find Ways to Navigate Through Tough Times
21
Despite the many hardships of 2020, young people have discovered different ways to
manage the uncertainties they faced. Whether it’s talking to or spending more time with
friends and family, doing things they enjoy, or taking more time for themselves, young
people have demonstrated resourcefulness and resilience to help themselves get through
the past year. Importantly, not one activity or coping tool was the go-to for all young people–
instead, they find what works for them. Encouraging young people to explore what helps
them cope and removing any barriers to access will help to ensure that all young people
have the tools they need in times of crisis.
44%
37%
33%
27%
18%
17%
14%
1%
2%
4%
Helping family or friends when they needed it
Spending time outdoors
Seeing people doing random acts of kindness
Practicing mindfulness
Talking to a mental health professional
Feeling a greater sense of community
Volunteering
Other
Nothing has helped me
I haven't needed any help
What has helped most in getting through the past year?
62%
Talking to
family or friends
58%
Doing things
I enjoy
53%
Taking more
time for myself
53%
Spending more
time with my family
SPOTLIGHT
Though many barriers to access likely still exist, cisgender female and LGBTQ+ youth are more likely
than their counterparts to say talking to a mental health professional has helped them get through
the past year. Continuing to encourage open dialogue around mental health is an important step
to reducing stigma, but these data underscore the importance of ensuring access to professional
help is available to all young people.
Signs Point to Progress in Reducing Mental Health Stigma
22
One additional silver lining is the progress being made in young people’s lives regarding
mental health stigma. Since the start of the pandemic, majorities report feeling more
comfortable seeking resources to improve their mental wellness, as well as greater
willingness among family and friends to talk about it. Not only that, young people have
taken notice of actors and influencers being more open and talking about mental wellness.
Growing acceptance of and comfort with mental health discussion may help to ensure
young people know when, where, and how to reach out for support when needed.
70% are more comfortable
seeking resources to improve their
mental wellness
73% have noticed actors,
musicians, influencers, etc. are
more open and talking about
mental wellness
68% say their family has been
more willing to talk about their
mental wellness
67% say their friends have been
more willing to talk about mental
wellness
Since the start of the pandemic….
In Tough Times, Kindness Is the Way Forward
23
In what will surely be a defining moment for this generation, young people are coming
together with a collective understanding of the gravity of the moment and the power of
kindness and community in getting through it. A majority not only say that kindness helps
them get through tough times (92%), but that it is how we move forward (93%). In fact, 79%
of young people say that everything that has gone on in the past year has made them
want to be a kinder person. Further, those who are coping well can help us to unlock the
beliefs, relationships, and environments that enable young people to be resilient and
navigate through difficult times.
Have a place they can go (in real life or online) where they feel like they belong.
Regularly experience and witness acts of kindness—and have experienced more
kindness in the past year than ever before. They are also more likely to often be
kind to themselves.
Have people in their life who truly care about them, really understand them, and
they can talk to if they have problems. They are also more likely to have received
more emotional support from friends and family since the start of the pandemic
and have friends and family who are now more willing to talk about mental
wellness.
Have found ways to not just survive in extraordinarily difficult times, but to thrive
- by looking beyond the challenges, appreciating unexpected benefits, and
remaining optimistic.
Those who are coping well are much more likely than those who are not to say they…
Keys to Coping and Resilience
ABOUT BORN THIS WAY FOUNDATION
Led by Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta, Born This Way
Foundation was founded in 2012 to support the wellness of young
people and empower them to create a kinder and braver world. Born
This Way Foundation works to demonstrate the power of kindness,
validate the emotions of youth, and eliminate the stigma that
surrounds mental health. To achieve these goals, the Foundation
leverages evidence-based research and authentic partnerships to
connect young people with resources - online and in their
communities - to build communities that understand and prioritize
mental wellness. To learn more, visit https://bornthisway.foundation/.
24
ABOUT THE HARRIS POLL
The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys in the U.S. tracking
public opinion, motivations and social sentiment since 1963 that is
now part of Harris Insights & Analytics, a global consulting and market
research firm that delivers social intelligence for transformational
times. We work with clients in three primary areas; building twenty-
first-century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and
performance tracking, and earning organic media through public
relations research. Our mission is to provide insights and advisory to
help leaders make the best decisions possible. To learn more, please
visit www.theharrispoll.com.
METHOD
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The
Harris Poll on behalf of Born This Way Foundation from January 29 to
February 12, 2021 among 2,008 13-24 year olds. Results are weighted
to be representative of this population. This online survey is not based
on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical
sampling error can be calculated.
This report summarizes the key findings of the research. For more
information about this survey, please contact Born This Way
Foundation.

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Kindness Is Action

  • 1. Kindness Is Action Report Understanding the impact of kindness on the mental health of young people, particularly during overlapping and ongoing crises
  • 2. A Letter From the Foundation 2 Kindness is powerful. We feel the push of it in our lives, moving us forward and giving us warmth, hope, and joy. We feel the strength of its absence, when we find ourselves excluded, alone, or experiencing meanness. The transformative impact that kindness has had on one life – that of our friend and co-founder, Stefani, whom you may know as Lady Gaga – is what propelled Born This Way Foundation into the world almost a decade ago. The continued, life- saving impact of kindness and its tie to our ability to survive and thrive, is what inspires and motivates our team at the Foundation every day. In this research, we sought out to understand – from the young people with whom and for whom we do this work – how they define kindness, where (and if) they experience kindness firsthand, and the impact that it has on their mental wellness and resilience. Individual and collective acts of kindness were made visible on the world stage in this past year with students and teachers teaming up to build new learning systems, communities coming together to celebrate and thank frontline workers, people across the globe coming together to demand a more just world, and more. We hoped to understand, through our research, the big and small ways kindness can shape, and when needed, save a single life. In Kindness Is Action, we learned young people are supporting themselves, and each other. And kindness to themselves and one another isn’t just a nice to do, it’s a need to do, especially given the toll this past year has taken on this generation. The respondents to this survey and the young people we work with every day know so personally the inextricable link between kindness and mental wellness. It’s not a case that needs to be made for them, it’s a daily experience that they have in their communities – online and otherwise – and there are small, meaningful steps that we can each take to create kind, affirming environments. It is important to note that while kindness is free and hopefully accessible to all, there are communities of young people that self-report far fewer opportunities to experience and witness kindness personally. As the world begins to imagine how to emerge from the pandemic and work toward building just systems, redefining care and community, and addressing the overwhelming needs that have emerged for so many, kindness is an essential part of the equation. Young people not only relied on kindness to survive these times, but also expressed the belief that kindness is the way forward, a principle that we, as parents, partners, children, neighbors, friends, humans – and a foundation – remain committed to. To you, the person who is reading this report, thank you. Thank you for surviving this year, for helping others survive whether you realize you were helping or not, for believing in kindness, and for seeking it out when it’s available and creating it when it’s not. It matters. You, your journey, and your kindness matter.
  • 3. Table of Contents 3 Survey Method 04 Executive Summary 05 Defining Kindness 06 Impact of Kindness 10 Kindness in Times of Crises 18 Contact 24
  • 4. Survey Method 4 When reading the report, please keep in mind: • Percentages may not add up to 100% due to weighting and/or computer rounding and the acceptance of multiple responses. • Unless otherwise noted, results for the Total (all ages 13-24) are displayed. • Throughout, statistically significant differences at the 95% confidence interval for groups of interest (age, gender, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, and financial security) have been included (where applicable) in the “Spotlight” section at the bottom of the page. Note that due to space limitations, not all differences are displayed. Regarding the groups: – LGBTQ+ young people (n=355) are those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, pansexual, asexual, questioning or other sexual orientation and/or transgender, non-binary or gender non-conforming. – Black, Indigenous, and youth of color (n=782) are those who identify as Black or African American, Hispanic or Latinx, Asian or Pacific Islander, Native American or Alaskan Native, or other race. – Less financially secure young people (n=400) are those who say they have or their family has a hard time buying the things they need. Mode: 15-minute online survey Survey Timing: January 29 – February 12, 2021 Audience: 2,008 13-24 year olds residing in the U.S. Weighting: Data are weighted to ensure results are projectable to the U.S. population of 13-24 year olds
  • 5. Executive Summary It’s a widely accepted truism that kindness matters. Young people learn the message “be kind to others” at an early age through school curriculum, children’s books, and life lessons from parents/guardians. And now in 2021, after a year of living through a pandemic, that message strongly resonates among youth. Above all, young people indicate kindness is rooted in action – it is more than just being nice (56%) – it is doing something for someone else without expecting anything in return (62%) and it is shown through actions (59%). And for nearly all, little acts of kindness make a big difference (94%). Most young people go on to say that experiencing kindness boosts their mental wellness— whether it is receiving it from others (73%), witnessing it in the world (71%), or even just being kinder to themselves (74%). Despite this incredible impact, it is important to note that not all young people regularly experience kindness with fairly few reporting that they strongly agree that they regularly receive (25%) or witness (16%) kindness or are often kind to themselves (29%). And further, results reveal a kindness divide with certain groups (such as Black, Indigenous, and youth of color, those who are less financially secure, and LGBTQ+ youth) experiencing less kindness than others, potentially impacting their mental wellness. Given its impact on mental wellness, the importance and benefits of kindness should not be underestimated, particularly during tough times — nearly all young people say kindness helps them get through (92%) and is the way forward (93%). While many young people admit they’ve had a hard time getting through the past year (69%) and feel like they are shouldering more than ever before (74%), it has also shined light on the value of kindness and the resilience of our youth. Young people have been resourceful and found ways to manage through the uncertainty – whether it is discovering new hobbies/interests (72%), developing stronger relationships with friends/family (70%), or being inspired to contribute to their communities in new and different ways (61%). In fact, the vast majority say that everything that has gone on over the last 12 months has made them want to be a kinder person (79%) and that they are optimistic that the coming years will be better than the last (77%). Additionally, those who have had an easier time coping during the pandemic are more likely to have experienced acts of kindness over the past year, to have observed more kindness in the world around them, to have maintained a positive outlook and be optimistic about the future. The close relationship between resilience and kindness, a potential hallmark of this generation, is noteworthy. Connecting young people to tools and resources so they can continue focusing on sharing with themselves and others, especially through tough times, may help them learn to cope with difficult situations, setting them up for improved mental wellness and a kinder future. 5
  • 6. Defining Kindness While kindness can be many things, above all, it is rooted in action. 6
  • 7. 48% 47% 45% 39% 39% 37% 1% What brings us all together About how you treat yourself, not just others More important than ever before Something that helps you heal when you are hurting What makes life worth living Easy to do Other For Young People, Kindness Is Action What does it mean to be kind? More than half of young people agree that it’s more than just being nice—it’s doing something for someone else without expecting anything in return, and notably, it’s something that is shown through actions. And this definition holds true across all young people, regardless of who they are. However, according to young people, kindness is not something that is necessarily always easy to do. By their definition alone, we see both understanding and respect for this simultaneously simple and complex gesture. And as you will see in this report, more than what kindness is, we’ll explore the incredible impact it can have on young people’s lives. % who say that kindness is... 62% Doing something for someone else without expecting anything in return 59% Shown through actions 56% More than just being nice to someone 7 SPOTLIGHT Female and LGTBQ+ youth are more likely than their counterparts to say kindness is about how you treat yourself, not just others.
  • 8. In Their Own Words 8 “My professor reached out to ask if I was alright because I had been skipping class, which I never used to do.” – Transgender youth, 23 “My father held my hand and started talking to me about my problems.” – Cisgender male, 13 “Someone noticed I was down and helped me without asking for anything in return and was all around a kind person.” – Cisgender female, 18 “Openly accepting me coming out as trans.” – Transgender youth, 14 “They wanted to talk about how I was doing with how everything suddenly changed last spring.” – Non-binary youth, 21 “I boarded a bus to my school. On my arrival I found out that I had no money on me. But someone politely accepted to pay for.” – Cisgender female, 18 When asked to describe the last time someone was kind to them, young people tell us from their own perspectives and experiences that kindness is many things, from helping to pay for a bus ticket, to providing a listening ear, to acceptance of them for who they are. Beyond the act itself, there was a common theme that kindness is done willingly or by choice. Think back to the last time you felt someone was kind to you. What did they do that you felt was kind? (Open-ended question) “The last time someone was kind to me, they offered to help me with a very hard chore. And it was very helpful because it would have sucked to do it alone, but together we prevailed.” – Cisgender male, 19 “The last time someone was kind to me was when they caught me and my family sleeping in the car in their parking lot, and instead of calling the police they offered us bottled waters. It was very hot in the middle of the summer. I thought that was a very kind gesture.” – Cisgender female, 16
  • 9. Inspiration To Be Kind Comes From All Corners Of Their World, Including From Within 9 Young people draw inspiration to be kind from a variety of people and places, but it’s parents/guardians who are the ones building a foundation of kindness for the next generation and it’s essential for them to understand that they hold the keys to encouraging their children to create a kinder world. And though parents are by far the most common source of inspiration, the second most common source is: themselves—more than half of young people say they draw inspiration from within when it comes to being kind. 34% 28% 22% 19% 15% 12% 11% 8% 2% 2% Other family members My religious or spiritual beliefs My teachers Others being unkind Living in a community that fosters kindness Social media influencers Classes in school Celebrities Government leaders Other 63% My parent(s)/ guardians 53% Myself 51% My friends 43% Others being kind SPOTLIGHT While parents/guardians commonly inspire young people of all ages to be kind, they are especially influential on 13-17 year olds. As teens enter young adulthood, friends—as well as themselves– start to have an equal influence as parents. Similarly, while parents are a top source of inspiration for LGBTQ+ young people, they are less likely than their counterparts to say so and their parents have a roughly equal influence as their friends and themselves in inspiring kindness. Who or what most inspires you to be kind?
  • 10. Impact of Kindness Kindness and mental wellness are closely linked, with even small acts of kindness leading to big improvements in mental wellness. 10
  • 11. I am kind to myself often I regularly receive kindness from others I regularly see kindness in the world 38% 35% 35% 35% 38% 36% 74% 73% 71% They were kinder to themselves They received more kindness from others They saw more kindness in the world 29% 25% 16% 42% 49% 43% 71% 74% 59% SPOTLIGHT Though most young people can agree that being kinder to themselves would improve their mental wellness and that being kind to themselves is just as important as being kind to others, cisgender female and LGBTQ+ youth are less likely than their counterparts to say they are often kind to themselves. Giving young people, especially these groups, the tools and permission to be kind to themselves could play a critical role in strengthening mental wellness. Young People Embrace Kindness As A Way To Improve Their Mental Health 11 Most young people say experiencing more kindness—be it from others, themselves, or observed in the world around them—would improve their mental wellness. In fact, a third or more say it would have a big improvement. However, despite overwhelming agreement that little acts of kindness can make a big difference, there are still young people who don’t feel strongly (or even at all) that they experience kindness in these ways, especially when it comes to seeing kind acts in the world around them. say little acts of kindness can make a big difference 94% ■ Big improvement ■ Moderate improvement ■ Strongly agree ■ Somewhat agree % agree with statements about personal experiences with kindness % say it would have a big/moderate improvement on mental wellness if…
  • 12. There’s an Undeniable Link Between Kindness and Mental Wellness Not only do young people report that regularly receiving and witnessing kindness, and that being kind to themselves would improve their mental wellness, but those who say they have excellent/good mental wellness are in fact far more likely to say they actually do regularly receive kindness, witness kindness, and are often kind to themselves. This stated and observed link between kindness and mental wellness underscores the importance and urgency of ensuring all young people have someone in their lives to show them kindness, and especially to encourage young people to be kind to themselves. % agree with statements about personal experiences with kindness by stated mental wellness 86% 81% 67% 46% 62% 45% I am kind to myself often I regularly receive kindness from others I regularly see kindness in the world ■ Good/Excellent mental wellness ■ Fair/Poor mental wellness 12
  • 13. % say it would have a big/ moderate improvement on mental wellness if… Someone listens when they have a problem 71% Someone believes in them and encourages them to do their best 69% Someone checks-in on them/ asks if they’re doing OK 68% Someone helps them when they don't have to 57% Someone goes out of their way to show them they care 51% Someone shows up to support them if they have events or activities 53% Someone notices when they’re having a bad day 61% Someone helps them get the support that they need 49% Someone compliments them 62% Someone leaves positive or supportive comments on their social media posts 39% 51% 51% 44% 42% 45% 44% 43% 39% 38% 32% 33% 32% 36% 37% 34% 34% 35% 37% 35% 30% ■ Big improvement ■ Moderate improvement Small Acts of Kindness Lead to Big Improvements Since not all young people are fortunate enough to have someone in their life to count on to demonstrate kindness, meaningful differences in mental health may be achieved by encouraging the acts of kindness that have big improvements, but fewer individuals receive (e.g., 79% say someone going out of their way to show they care would have an impact, but only 51% currently receive). The acts of kindness young people most commonly say would have the biggest impact on their mental wellness are having someone who listens, believes in them, and checks-in on them. These are also among the top acts young people experience today, and while the other acts of kindness all have a significant impact on mental wellness, they aren’t as universally experienced. % receive act of kindness from others Act of kindness received from others 71% 69% 68% 57% 51% 53% 61% 49% 62% 39% 85% 83% 80% 79% 79% 78% 78% 76% 73% 63% 13
  • 14. 14 SPOTLIGHT Those who regularly receive kindness from others are far more likely than those who don’t to say each act of kindness would help to improve their mental wellness. If young people experiencing less kindness don’t know the positive impact it may have, they may not know to look for it as a way to help improve mental wellness, which may be even more critical in times of crisis or when other resources are harder to access. The hidden value in receiving kindness Young people across different races and ethnicities have similar views on the mental wellness impact of receiving different acts of kindness. However, the presence (or absence) of kindness varies greatly for most of the acts of kindness evaluated: white youth are more likely than Black, Indigenous, and youth of color to say they experience them. In particular, 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. Racial divide in kindness received Those who live at home with a parent or guardian are far more likely than those who don’t to say they have someone in their life to show them nearly all of the acts of kindness evaluated—often by large margins (e.g., 75% of young people who live with a parent/guardian say they have someone who listens when they have a problem compared to only 58% of those who don’t). Preparing young people for the transition to young adulthood and leaving home with the knowledge of this difference and the guidance to fill the kindness gap, could help to mitigate the potential impact on mental wellness, especially since the stated impact of the acts of kindness is fairly aligned between the two groups. Or better yet, empower these young people, as peers, to fill the void for their fellow young adults. Finding kindness outside the home
  • 15. People they know standing up for others 55% People in their community going out of their way to help others 46% People in their community wearing masks in public to protect others from COVID-19 61% People they know volunteering their time or donating money 44% People they know standing up for things that matter to me on social media 40% People they know sharing information to help others on social media 44% People they know participating in civic activities 34% People they know calling out misinformation on social media 30% People they know introducing themselves using their pronouns 29% Kindness Observed Also Improves Mental Health, But Is Severely Lacking 15 The impact of witnessing someone standing up for others or going out of their way to help others, is quite significant—especially considering 43% of young people tell us that witnessing others being kind inspires them to do the same. Other observed acts of kindness have an impact for a majority, including people introducing themselves using their pronouns, (which is particularly meaningful for transgender and non-binary youth). That said, observing kindness does not impact mental wellness to the same extent as being the recipient of kindness, nor (perhaps due to pandemic restrictions) is it observed nearly as frequently. 44% 39% 38% 32% 30% 29% 26% 25% 24% 33% 34% 31% 34% 35% 34% 33% 31% 30% % regularly observe act of kindness Act of kindness others perform ■ Big improvement ■ Moderate improvement % say it would have a big/ moderate improvement on mental wellness if… 55% 46% 61% 44% 40% 44% 34% 30% 29% 77% 73% 69% 66% 66% 63% 59% 56% 54%
  • 16. 16 *Note: Small sample size (n=45). Results should be interpreted as qualitative in nature. SPOTLIGHT For transgender and non-binary youth* the act of introducing yourself using pronouns is one of the top kind behaviors that can have a big improvement on mental wellness (second only to seeing people stand up for others) and they are much more likely than cisgender youth to say the same (where this action falls to the bottom of the list of actions that would have a big improvement on mental wellness). The good news is, transgender and non-binary youth are more likely to say they regularly witness others they know doing it, so the more we can encourage this behavior and make it the norm, the better. Pronoun use makes a big impression on transgender and non-binary youth Mask wearing is viewed by most young people as an act of kindness that can have a big/moderate improvement on mental wellness, and also happens to be the most commonly observed act of kindness evaluated. In fact, young people across all regions of the US and urbanicities, are equally likely to say they witness people in their communities wearing masks in public to protect others from COVID-19. Of note, Black youth (while no more or less likely than others to observe mask wearing) are more likely than White and LatinX young people to say seeing others wear masks has a big/moderate improvement on their mental wellness. Given the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on the Black community, it is a tremendous indication that Black youth embody kindness by looking past their own needs and caring for others in their community (who may be more likely to be impacted by COVID). Pandemic-related safety measure does more than protect physical wellness Surrounding certain groups with more opportunities to feel and see kindness in the world around them would improve mental health. Those who are less financially secure, older (18-24), and LGBTQ+ are less likely than their counterparts to say they regularly see kindness in the world. As is the case for their counterparts, for all three groups, the act of kindness that would most commonly have a big improvement on mental wellness is witnessing someone they know standing up for others. Speaking up for and supporting those in need, may have a ripple effect—not only impacting the individual needing support, but those around them who witness that type of caring and kindness. Kindness has a ripple effect
  • 17. In Their Own Words 17 “It made me feel better, and that life was worth continuing.” – Transgender youth, 19 “It changed everything.” – Cisgender female, 19 “I had a better day and I was being nicer to myself and others.” – Cisgender female, 22 “It made me feel safe and happy. They know I struggle with feeling important, so they took the time to show me I am.” – Non-binary youth, 19 “It made me more confident in myself and happy.” – Cisgender male, 13 “I felt really good that day and after that I tried to do the same for everyone else too.” – Cisgender male, 17 When asked to describe how they felt the last time someone was kind to them, or what impact that kindness had, young people leave no doubt of the importance and impact of kindness. Kindness contributes to many aspects of wellness from helping them to feel safe and confident to less alone, with many mentioning that it has the power to change the trajectory of their day, or even their desire to stay alive. Think back to the last time you felt someone was kind to you. What did they do that you felt was kind? (Open-ended question) “It just made me feel worth it and that someone actually wanted to be with me.” – Cisgender male, 18 “I felt really good and that someone my age could relate to how I was feeling and what I was saying, I saw that there is good out there and things aren't always as bad as you think.” – Cisgender female, 16 “Their kindness made me feel welcome and view them as even better than I did before.” – Non-binary youth, 17 “That it’s ok to be me.” – Transgender youth, 14
  • 18. Kindness in Times of Crises Young people are using kindness to cope with overlapping and ongoing crises, emphasizing that even in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, kindness is the way forward. 18
  • 19. Very well 19% Somewhat well 56% Not well 25% Would you say your mental wellness is better, worse, or the same as it was prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic? How well would you say you are coping with everything that has happened in the past year? Better 21% About the same 39% Worse 41% The Crises of 2020 Take a Toll 19 SPOTLIGHT The past year has challenged young people in unimaginable ways, bringing turmoil and uncertainty, and taking a toll on mental health. Most young people acknowledge the weight of these hardships and the difficulties the year has presented. With so many recognizing that their mental health has declined and so few coping “very well,” how do we help young people navigate through? Later in this section we’ll learn more about the young people who are coping well to give us some insight and clues. Unsurprisingly, there are disparities in how young people have fared over the past year. Cisgender female and LGBTQ+ youth are disproportionately impacted—and compared to their counterparts, 18-24 year olds and financially insecure young people are really struggling to cope during the pandemic. These results and differences highlight the need for targeted, actionable tools to help young people learn to cope and maintain mental wellness during hard times. % agree with statements about coping during the pandemic 76% say it has been really hard to be away from friends and/or family because of pandemic restrictions 74% feel like they are dealing with more now than they ever have before 69% have had a hard time getting through the past year
  • 20. Amid Turmoil and Stress, Young People Find Optimism, Appreciation, and Inspiration 20 From new hobbies to connecting with nature to stronger personal relationships, the many hardships young people have faced over the past year have not impeded their positive outlook. Encouragingly, most young people are optimistic that the future is bright, and some are even emerging with new inspiration to contribute to their communities in new and different ways. However, while some appear to be thriving, we know that so many others are not, and since those who are coping well are far more likely to identify all of these positive outcomes, it is imperative to understand and help those who may have a harder time finding them. SPOTLIGHT Because outlook and appreciation for the positives may play a key role in coping and building resilience, it’s important to acknowledge who may struggle to find it. Older (age 18-24), LGBTQ+, and less financially secure young people are less likely than their counterparts to express some of these attitudes and beliefs. I am optimistic that the coming years will be better than the past year 77% I have received more emotional support from my family and friends 77% I've discovered new hobbies or interests 72% I now have stronger relationships with my friends and family 70% I've enjoyed spending more time outdoors 66% I've been inspired to contribute to my community in new and different ways 61% % agree with statements about 2020 impacts
  • 21. Young People Find Ways to Navigate Through Tough Times 21 Despite the many hardships of 2020, young people have discovered different ways to manage the uncertainties they faced. Whether it’s talking to or spending more time with friends and family, doing things they enjoy, or taking more time for themselves, young people have demonstrated resourcefulness and resilience to help themselves get through the past year. Importantly, not one activity or coping tool was the go-to for all young people– instead, they find what works for them. Encouraging young people to explore what helps them cope and removing any barriers to access will help to ensure that all young people have the tools they need in times of crisis. 44% 37% 33% 27% 18% 17% 14% 1% 2% 4% Helping family or friends when they needed it Spending time outdoors Seeing people doing random acts of kindness Practicing mindfulness Talking to a mental health professional Feeling a greater sense of community Volunteering Other Nothing has helped me I haven't needed any help What has helped most in getting through the past year? 62% Talking to family or friends 58% Doing things I enjoy 53% Taking more time for myself 53% Spending more time with my family SPOTLIGHT Though many barriers to access likely still exist, cisgender female and LGBTQ+ youth are more likely than their counterparts to say talking to a mental health professional has helped them get through the past year. Continuing to encourage open dialogue around mental health is an important step to reducing stigma, but these data underscore the importance of ensuring access to professional help is available to all young people.
  • 22. Signs Point to Progress in Reducing Mental Health Stigma 22 One additional silver lining is the progress being made in young people’s lives regarding mental health stigma. Since the start of the pandemic, majorities report feeling more comfortable seeking resources to improve their mental wellness, as well as greater willingness among family and friends to talk about it. Not only that, young people have taken notice of actors and influencers being more open and talking about mental wellness. Growing acceptance of and comfort with mental health discussion may help to ensure young people know when, where, and how to reach out for support when needed. 70% are more comfortable seeking resources to improve their mental wellness 73% have noticed actors, musicians, influencers, etc. are more open and talking about mental wellness 68% say their family has been more willing to talk about their mental wellness 67% say their friends have been more willing to talk about mental wellness Since the start of the pandemic….
  • 23. In Tough Times, Kindness Is the Way Forward 23 In what will surely be a defining moment for this generation, young people are coming together with a collective understanding of the gravity of the moment and the power of kindness and community in getting through it. A majority not only say that kindness helps them get through tough times (92%), but that it is how we move forward (93%). In fact, 79% of young people say that everything that has gone on in the past year has made them want to be a kinder person. Further, those who are coping well can help us to unlock the beliefs, relationships, and environments that enable young people to be resilient and navigate through difficult times. Have a place they can go (in real life or online) where they feel like they belong. Regularly experience and witness acts of kindness—and have experienced more kindness in the past year than ever before. They are also more likely to often be kind to themselves. Have people in their life who truly care about them, really understand them, and they can talk to if they have problems. They are also more likely to have received more emotional support from friends and family since the start of the pandemic and have friends and family who are now more willing to talk about mental wellness. Have found ways to not just survive in extraordinarily difficult times, but to thrive - by looking beyond the challenges, appreciating unexpected benefits, and remaining optimistic. Those who are coping well are much more likely than those who are not to say they… Keys to Coping and Resilience
  • 24. ABOUT BORN THIS WAY FOUNDATION Led by Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta, Born This Way Foundation was founded in 2012 to support the wellness of young people and empower them to create a kinder and braver world. Born This Way Foundation works to demonstrate the power of kindness, validate the emotions of youth, and eliminate the stigma that surrounds mental health. To achieve these goals, the Foundation leverages evidence-based research and authentic partnerships to connect young people with resources - online and in their communities - to build communities that understand and prioritize mental wellness. To learn more, visit https://bornthisway.foundation/. 24 ABOUT THE HARRIS POLL The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys in the U.S. tracking public opinion, motivations and social sentiment since 1963 that is now part of Harris Insights & Analytics, a global consulting and market research firm that delivers social intelligence for transformational times. We work with clients in three primary areas; building twenty- first-century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and earning organic media through public relations research. Our mission is to provide insights and advisory to help leaders make the best decisions possible. To learn more, please visit www.theharrispoll.com. METHOD This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Born This Way Foundation from January 29 to February 12, 2021 among 2,008 13-24 year olds. Results are weighted to be representative of this population. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. This report summarizes the key findings of the research. For more information about this survey, please contact Born This Way Foundation.