Young healthcare consumers under the age of 45 want different things from older generations — such as an increased focus on preventive health, and more attention to mental health — according to a recent survey out of The 3rd Eye, a health and wellness agency.

The survey explores what wellness means for younger generations as well as the different racial and ethnic groups within that age group. 

The report finds that the concept of wellness varies by ethnicity, with white consumers prioritizing physical and emotional health as wellness while Black consumers are more likely to consider spiritual health as wellness.

The takeaway for health marketers, the survey argues, is that they should “recognize how important health and wellness is to consumers,” while also acknowledging that they may have a different definition than marketers.

“Today’s consumers are educated and informed — powered by the desire for prevention rather than just treatment,” Diana Brooks, founder and chief vision officer at The 3rd Eye, says in a statement. “As consumer priorities shift, health and wellness brands must follow suit and adapt to fit new societal, cultural and personal needs.”

It’s no surprise that people 45 and younger are more likely to prioritize mental health when it comes to their overall health and that finding holds up across various demographics. Seventy percent of Black respondents, 73% of Hispanic respondents, and 70% of white respondents believe that mental health is just as important as physical health.

“In some communities, therapy used to be only for the ‘crazies,’” Brooks says. “Because of the pandemic, we know that we’re all a little crazy now — and mental health is no longer on the backburner.”

Still, major barriers to mental health care remain, with 41% of consumers citing untreated mental illness as the biggest health and wellness issues that communities in the U.S. currently face. Thirty-seven percent point to financial concerns and the lack of access to well-paying jobs, 37% refer to affordable healthcare and 36% say quality mental health services.

Health priorities are also different depending on gender, with women being more likely to define mental health as the most important aspect, at 58% compared to 51% of men. The latter group rank physical fitness higher than women, but are more likely to list emotional wellness as a significant part of wellness.

The younger generations are also more likely, unsurprisingly, to turn to social media for healthcare advice. Nearly 50% of respondents report that they search for health information via Google, 32% from word of mouth and 20% from social media influencers — rather than traditional advertising.

However, a large amount of health information online is misinformation; nearly 84% of mental health videos on TikTok, for example, are misleading.

The 3rd Eye provides six tips for healthcare marketers to effectively reach health and wellness consumers. 

The first is to work on improving health and wellness accessibility depending on what type of insurance consumers have and “work to provide top-tier access to all consumers — and educate them in a culturally competent way on how to make the most of it,” the authors wrote.

Next is to support consumers’ search for longevity, take care of your chief medical officers (many of whom are women), build connections with multicultural communities and invest in remote technology and apps. 

Finally, The 3rd Eye suggests finding ways to use social media influence for good – like partnering with ethical influencers and influencers who are connected to certain populations.