Why Millennial Depression Is On The Rise

Why Millennial Depression Is on the Rise
Source – Teen Vogue

According to recent research published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, depression among younger millennials may be rising, whereas known risk factors such as drug abuse and antisocial behaviour decline.

Why Millennial Depression Is On The Rise

According to recent research published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, depression among younger millennials may be rising, whereas known risk factors such as drug abuse and antisocial behaviour decline.

Researchers studied two sets of millennials in the United Kingdom: those born between 1991 and 1992 and those born between 2000 and 2002.

According to the researchers, the younger group’s overall symptoms of depression and self-harm had risen by the age of 14 compared to the older generation.

Between 2005 and 2015, the years of each group’s respective check-in, symptoms of depression climbed from 9 per cent to nearly 15 per cent and reported self-harm increased from almost 12 per cent to over 14 per cent.

Furthermore, younger millennials generally reported lower risk factors such as smoking (3 per cent against 9 per cent) and alcohol use (43 per cent versus 52 per cent), and also less antisocial behaviours (28 per cent versus 40 per cent).

While this latest study was conducted in the United Kingdom, comparable results have been found in the United States.

For example, according to 2018 Blue Cross Blue Shield data, diagnosis of severe depression increased 47 per cent among millennials in 2013.

Source - Scientific American

Who Is A Millennial?

The millennial generation’s age range is difficult to define.

The United States Census Bureau uses 2000 as the cutoff birth year. However, the Pew Research Center uses 1996.

However, whether the younger group in the UK research represents the end of the millennial generation or the start of Generation Z, the findings are clear: It’s unknown why adolescents are depressed.

The research did discover that younger millennials slept less than eight hours each night (11% vs 6%) and had higher BMI scores than their predecessors (7 per cent scored as obese compared to 4 per cent in the older cohort).

However, the researchers advised against making any conclusions from the findings.

Instead, these outcomes “suggest relationships between these factors might be more complex and dynamic in nature than currently understood," the study authors wrote. 

Is It Social Media’s Fault?

Many specialists consulted by Healthline pointed to social media as a possible cause of the rise in depressive symptoms.

Millennials were the first generation to grow up with the constant flow of information from the internet and social media [and] they are being bombarded with details about the personal and professionals lives of others," Jessica Singh, a mental health therapist and the founder of Vero Beach, Florida-based Transcendence Counseling Center, LLC, agreed.

Millennials can’t help but compare their situations and achievements to everyone else’s, which can leave them feeling insecure and unaccomplished," Singh told Healthline. 

As a consequence, “Millennials are feeling the pressure to always look and act like they have it all together. This can easily result in lowered self-esteem, anxiety, or depression," she said. 

This is consistent with prior research suggesting that social media usage may promote depression and loneliness.

Then there’s the fact that social media relationships are just less authentic, meaningful, and protective than those in person, according to Kathryn Moore, PhD, a psychologist at Providence Saint John’s Child and Family Development Center in Santa Monica, California, who tells Healthline.

I see many young adults who say they are social, but their social interactions consist of talking with people online while playing a video game for hours," she told Healthline. “These types of social interactions aren’t allowing for true sharing, connectedness, or feeling known.

The Economic Growth And Debt

Several additional experts have identified debt and the economy as possible risk factors for millennial depression rates.

Rates of depression among millennials are naturally increasing because of the economic reality of increasing student loan debt, decrease of job stability, the rent economy, and decrease in positive social supports due to moving globally for job security," Monica White, a relationship therapist in New York and Massachusetts, tells Healthline. 

Dr Michael DeMarco, a counsellor in New York, agreed. “The internet didn’t actually give us meaning," he told Healthline. “App culture has us feeling more alone and isolated than ever before. Massive student loan debt, and the likelihood of financial freedom and owning a home and paying off that student loan debt [are] not likely.

Consider the state of the world in the time these folks have been on the planet.

One good trait that millennials appear to possess, which may explain the rise in depression symptoms, is seeking therapy.

Public stigma surrounding depression is decreasing among millennials and younger generations are reaching out to their healthcare providers, getting diagnosed and hopefully treated," stated Dr Vincent Nelson, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s vice president of medical affairs.

Nonetheless, he told Healthline that one in every five millennials does not seek therapy.

Symptoms And Signs

Some of the warning signs experienced when suffering from depression may include changes in sleep (interrupted sleep or sleeping too much), changes in eating patterns (eating too much or too little), changes in performance at school or work, increased isolation, changes in mood such as sadness and irritability, loss of interest or pleasure in things once enjoyed, fatigue, restlessness, decreased ability to concentrate/focus,” Geny Zapata, PsyD, a health psychologist and the head of behavioural sciences at the Adventist Health White Memorial family medicine residency programme in Los Angeles, agreed.

Here are a few of her recommendations for millennials to adequately protect their mental health:

  • Seek the assistance of a qualified doctor.
  • Seek mental health treatments, such as individual counselling or involvement in a support group.
  • Reduce your isolation: Reach out to and communicate with trusted friends and family.
  • Experiment with activities and hobbies that you used to like (reading books, strolling, talking to friends, going out for tea, taking a class, going to the movies).
  • Ask for support from your spiritual or religious group if you are spiritual or religious.
  • Improve your sleep, diet, and overall physical wellness.

Most of all please be patient with yourself,” Zapata said “The symptoms of depression come with time and they will need time to be worked through. With professional assistance, your patience, and your effort it does get better and your quality of life will improve.


Source: Healthline

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