Millennials and Gen Z are struggling more than the generations before them. Many studies have shown that younger people are experiencing mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, the rates of mental health disorders keep rising.
A Blue Cross Blue Shield report shows a 12% increase in depression in Millennials. This generation is also twice as likely to have a chronic physical condition. While the report shows this increase occurred before the pandemic, COVID-19 has only worsened mental health concerns.
Mckinsey conducted a survey and found that one in four Gen Zers feels emotionally distressed. Several factors contribute to these declines in mental health. So, it’s of great importance to understand these concerns.
1. Social Media Impacts
With increased access to social media, Millennials and Gen Zers feel even more pressure. More specifically, Instagram is known for being the worst social media network for mental health. Because it’s a photo-based platform, teens and young adults struggle with FOMO (fear of missing out), body image issues, bullying, and mental concerns.
Moreover, young people are frequent social media users and are more likely to report anxiety and depression. Since social media often depicts unrealistic and aspirational lifestyles, these instill feelings of low self-esteem.
While social media can have many benefits for young people to express themselves, it also puts more pressure on them to feel socially accepted.
2. Rising Costs of Healthcare
Healthcare spending has dramatically increased in the U.S. over the past decade. With this factor, slow income growth, and high unemployment, Millennials have a faster health decline. As a result of poorer health conditions, this could cost Millennials over $4,500 each year in real per-capita income.
Millennials also have the highest rate of uninsured individuals because they can’t afford routine healthcare costs. With lack of affordability being the most common reason, many Millennials do not have access to healthcare. Therefore, they often delay or stop receiving care.
With many Millennials facing anxiety, depression, and weight issues, the inaccessibility only contributes to their mental health decline. Gen Zers have also been hit hard by the rise in healthcare costs and have cut back their spending on wellness activities.
Essentially, high-cost healthcare contributes to financial sacrifices. In turn, younger Americans cannot save for retirement, pay off debt, or even buy a house.
3. A Delay in Life Milestones
Millennials have the added stress from the Great Recession of 2008. Since the economy’s decline, this generation had to take dead-end jobs, which continues today. As a result, Millennials and Gen Z experience the delay of many life milestones that previous generations were granted.
Younger people are not homeowners, not getting married, and they’re living in their parents’ homes for longer periods. While these generations are the most educated, their path to success is less clear. And their efforts to get ahead have increased in frustration.
4. Work Is Competitive
On top of their jobs leading to nowhere, the nature of work has only become more stressful and competitive. Young people feel pressured to put in more time at work, leaving them with less downtime. As Millennials and Gen Zers don’t always get time off, they often feel reluctant to request off due to appearing weak or unmotivated.
Work pressures are jeopardizing young people’s mental health, even though they’re more in tune with their mental health issues. These generations are more open to saying they have anxiety or have been diagnosed with depression. Yet, the mental health stigma persists in the workplace.
Many young professionals worry about this issue and often put their health needs aside for too long. Then, they reach a point where working and addressing mental health isn’t possible. Therefore, younger individuals voluntarily leave their job because of their mental health struggles.
5. Beliefs Are Problematic
People with major depression often have negative or intrusive thoughts. If you are prone to depression, you may believe your feelings are true – that they are an accurate reflection of your reality. This type of thinking is known as emotional reasoning.
If a person feels a certain way, such as worthless, they think they must actually be worthless. Therefore, their way of thinking will contribute further to their depression. Beliefs instilled by society also seem to be driving mental health concerns among Gen Z and Millennials.
For example, many believe that if they get offended by something they encounter, it weakens them. This belief indicates that you should have greater strength when managing life’s challenges.
Even though Gen Zs are more likely to seek mental help than previous generations, they still have to deal with these stigmas, and they are more likely to consider suicide. According to a 2021 survey, 48% of LGBTQ adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17 seriously considered attempting suicide. Meanwhile, 34% of individuals aged 18-24 had the same thoughts.
Seek More Help
Millennials and Gen Zers are in a time of heightened stress levels and anxiety. From social media pressures and economic struggles to a global pandemic, it’s no wonder these generations report higher rates of depression. If you’re concerned about your mental wellness or someone else’s, avoid waiting to seek help from a mental health provider.
Once you are in a place to receive professional advice, they will direct you to the right treatment options – including talk therapy or medication.