Impact of Mental Health for Millennials

Did you know that millennials, or those born between 1981 and 1996, are sometimes referred to as the “burnout generation?” 

For some, burnout would be defined as a form of physical exhaustion caused by feeling constantly overwhelmed, overworked and overexerted. However, a recent study by Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) revealed that millennials are experiencing deeper levels of burnout as it pertains to the generation’s overall mental health and emotional well-being. 

Mental Health and Millennials 

Experts have noted that the following mental health illnesses are prevalent amongst millennials: 

  • Depression. A Pew Research Center study identified millennials as having higher rates of depression in comparison to any other generations. Additional studies have shown that major depression is among the top 10 health conditions affecting millennials. 
  • Anxiety. Sometimes dubbed the “anxious generation,” too, millennials are more likely to have been told by a healthcare provider that they are suffering from an anxiety disorder. In fact, the American Psychological Association reports that 12% of millennials have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, which is more than double the percentage of boomers diagnosed. 
  • Substance abuse. A recent analysis of data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that millennials are the most likely age demographic to die from alcohol and drug abuse. Furthermore, one report highlighted that during the past decade, drug-related deaths among millennials increased by 108% while alcohol-induced deaths rose by 69%. 

Causes of Poor Mental Health Amongst Millennials 

  • Financial debt. “Let’s face it, millennials are facing the overwhelming burdens of student loan debt, healthcare costs, childcare costs, and an expensive housing market,” shares Bridget DeFiccio LPC, Senior Vice President of Integrated Health at Acenda. “Feeling financially insecure can weigh heavily on an individual’s mental health and lead to feelings of anxiety or depression.” Even more alarming, research has shown that money stress can make people up to 20 times more likely to make a suicide attempt.  
  • COVID-19. BCBS reported that 92% of millennials said that the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health. The world as we knew it essentially stopped. We couldn’t leave our house at one point in time, the news was saturated with frightening death and hospitalization statistics, individuals were losing loved ones, jobs were unstable, and the future was unknown. It was a terrifying time, which caused many to struggle. 
  • Social media. One report has found that 79% of millennials use social media more least once per day – and this could be garnering negative thoughts and emotions as it pertains to: 
    • Living in a state of constant comparison. Noticing that others are in relationships, buying homes, getting promotions, starting their families or even traveling, may create feelings of envy, jealousy, sadness or loneliness. 
    • Pseudo-validation. Many people may correlate their “worth” to the number of likes, comments or reactions that a post receives on social media.
    • Exclusion. Millennials may feel as if they weren’t included in a social gathering, such as a work happy hour, if they see their coworkers posting and they weren’t invited.

Coping with Mental Health 

“Although millennials are struggling with mental health, this generation has changed the way that society at-large looks at mental health by being transparent,” shares Bridget DeFiccio LPC. “This generation has openly shared their struggles and been healthy advocates for seeking therapy.” 

Here are some recommendations if you are struggling with your mental health: 
  • Talking about your feelings with loved ones 
  • Eating a well-balanced diet
  • Getting routine exercise 
  • Improving your sleep patterns 
  • Seeking professional support, when/if needed 

“It’s critical to remember that you are not alone,” reminds Bridget DeFiccio LPC, “and that help is always available.” 

For more information about our mental health services, please call 844-4-ACENDA (844-422-3632 x9500).