Points of Light’s Civic Circle provides nine different paths for people to take civic action to solve the world’s toughest issues. Current and ongoing events have presented continuing mental health struggles for many, particularly as a result of social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

There are a number of compelling data points surrounding this issue as well as exactly how people are taking action in Points of Light’s most recent Civic Life Today: The State of Global Civic Engagement research. Data show different, yet strikingly similar, perspectives from across the globe and spanning generations. The results paint a picture of civic life in the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil and India. 

Twice as many Millennials (38%) listed mental health as a “Top 3 Social Issue of Concern” compared to Boomers (19%). Gen Z fell just behind Millennials, with 32%, listing it as a Top 3 issue. In regards to gender, 38% of women listed mental health as a Top 3 Social Issue of Concern compared to 22% of men.

With 72% of global respondents saying they took at least one civic action in the past 30 days on behalf of mental health, and 93% of global respondents claiming that they took at least one civic action on behalf of mental health in the past year, it’s clear that people are eager to contribute their time, talent, resources and attention. This data also speaks to people recognizing the necessary work of reducing the stigma around mental health.

The two primary civic actions taken were Listen & Learn (74%), which indicates that the individual took time to learn about the cause or social issue, and Voice (68%), showing that the individual posted or shared content on a social media platform. These two actions are often some of the most accessible ways to civically engage. And since speaking up about an issue is best done from an informed perspective, the two can work in tandem – listening and learning has the potential to result in more powerful, knowledgeable voices speaking on the issue.

One of the key takeaways from this research is the apparent motives behind these acts of civic engagement. Thirty-five percent of respondents said, “I have been personally impacted.” Thirty-two percent of respondents reported, “A close friend and/or family member has been impacted,” and 28% of respondents claimed that acting on this issue, “Supports my own personal well-being.” These statistics show that mental health is personal, and generally speaking, deeper impact is made and more momentum is maintained when people have a personal connection to the issue.
You can dive into all nine elements of Points of Light’s Civic Circle, as well as explore each of them in depth via issues of our free digital magazine, “Civic Life Today.”

Author(s)

  • Diane Quest

    Chief Operating Officer

    Points of Light

    Diane Quest is the chief operating officer at Points of Light and has served as an executive leader with the organization since 2016. The Points of Light Board of Directors has appointed her interim President and CEO, beginning December 1.   An accomplished nonprofit executive, she brings 20 years of experience in management, strategy, and external affairs, including marketing and communications, event production and experience, and partnerships. In her tenure at Points of Light, she has served in a variety of roles as a member of the executive leadership team responsible for enterprise strategy, and most recently she served as chief external affairs officer, where she was responsible for brand strategy, the annual Points of Light Conference, The George H.W. Bush Points of Light Awards and Celebration, and The Daily Point of Light Award.   Diane has an extensive background in strategic and crisis communications. In her previous role at MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership she successfully led a rebranding effort, a strategy that resulted in increased visibility in earned media and social media, and the doubling of registration at the organization’s annual national conference. Prior to MENTOR, she was a consultant with Camino Public Relations, a boutique firm with a focus on social justice nonprofit clients.   She served at The Pew Charitable Trusts as the communications manager for a jointly sponsored advocacy project with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Prior to her work at Pew, Diane was the national media director at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She managed the development and implementation of media relations campaigns to advance the mission of the $1 billion reproductive health care and advocacy organization.   In addition to her nonprofit work, Diane also has experience working within the federal government. She was the media and legislative affairs liaison for the inspector general at the U.S. Department of State. Before entering the field of communications and public relations, she was a television journalist. She has a Master of Arts in political science from American University in Washington, D.C., and a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.