Millennials are the generation of people born between 1980 and 1994. Millennial mental health has particular characteristics that set it apart from other generations. The millennial generation may have many of the same mental health issues as their predecessors, but research shows that millennials are experiencing more of these issues than previous generations.
People in this age group experience more issues with problem-solving and coping with stress and have higher rates of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse and self-harming than previous generations.
Millennial Mental Health by the Numbers
The non-profit organization Millennials for Mental Awareness reports that:
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young adults.
- Millennials report a “great deal of stress” at 5.4 on a 10-point scale. The average is 4.9.
- 76 percent of millennials point to work as their main source of stress.
- 73 percent of millennials say money is the number two reason for experiencing stress.
- Family (56 percent) and the economy (55 percent) come in at number three and four as top reasons millennials experience stress.
A study conducted by Case Western Reserve University found that the millennial generation also considers itself the most narcissistic one. The impact of being viewed as the generation that’s probably more narcissistic than past generations affects millennial mental health. The study pointed out that the narcissistic label could negatively influence millennials’ feelings and thoughts.
In 2017, one in five millennials reported depression, compared to 16 percent of people from Generation X (born from the early 1960s to early 1980s) and baby boomer (early 1940s to 1964) generations.
This disparity is explained in a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. Researchers attributed the higher rates of millennial depression to their increased use of social media. Study participants who said they checked social media most frequently were 2.7 times more likely to experience depression. Depression is often accompanied by lower self-esteem, drive and performance, which prevents people who are experiencing these symptoms from living joyful and successful lives.
Improving Millennial Mental Health
Millennials can improve their mental health by following a few simple tips:
- Figure out how much time is actually spent on social media.
- Cut down on social media exposure to things that can have an adverse impact, such as politically charged content, posts that elicit unpleasant or sad feelings and people or posts that inspire jealousy or insecurity.
- Remove phone apps for sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. This removes the temptation to constantly check these sites when there’s idle time.
- Spend free time doing different activities such as reading books, listening to audiobooks, chatting with friends in person and spending time with loved ones.
- Recharge by taking time off from the hectic world of school, work and social media. This helps cut down on the “fear of missing out” and allows the brain and body to rest and recoup.