Mental Health Disorders Rising Among Millennials 

By Desiree Bowie 10/16/19

Working long hours and stagnant wages may play a role in the rise. 

a millennial woman with a mental health disorder

Millennials are struggling with mental health at an alarming rate, according to Business Insider.

In connection with World Mental Health Day, Business Insider spent time studying the state of mental health in millennials. Among the main takeaways of the research were the facts that both depression and “deaths of despair” are increasing among 23-38 year olds, and that the job market—specifically long hours and stagnant wages—is affecting their mental health. 

Depression Diagnoses Increase By Nearly 50%

When it comes to depression, a report from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index indicates that millennials and teens are dealing with increased rates of depression in comparison to other generations. Since 2013, the report found, millennial depression diagnoses have increased 47%. 

Going hand-in-hand with the increase in depression, more millennials are also dying as a result of drugs, alcohol and suicide, often referred to as “deaths of despair.” According to Time reporter Jamie Ducharme, deaths of despair have increased for all ages in the last 10 years, but have increased the most in the younger generations. In 2017 alone, about 36,000 millennial deaths were considered deaths of despair with drug overdoses as the most common cause. 

Financial Pressure May Be A Factor

Finances may be another factor contributing to the mental health of millennials, Business Insider reports. It’s thought that the financial stress of student loans, healthcare, childcare and housing may factor into the rate of mental health disorders in the generation.

“Studies have found a correlation between people with debt and mental-health problems,” Business Insider reports. “While this research, by its nature, can't identify causality, the likelihood of having a mental-health disorder is three times higher among those with unsecured debt... People who have died by suicide were eight times more likely to have debt.”

As a result of financial stress, some millennials may not be able to afford treatment for such mental health struggles.

Workplace Burnout

Also contributing to deteriorating mental health are feelings of loneliness and burnout, both in and out of the workplace.

“It's a growing problem in today's workplace because of trends like rising workloads, limited staff and resources, and long hours,” Business Insider states.

Despite the obstacles they are facing, Business Insider reports that millennials are still more likely than other generations to attend therapy and as such, are starting to destigmatize it.

According to Wall Street Journal reporter Peggy Drexler, millennials view therapy as a way to improve themselves, but also as a way to cope when they haven’t met their own expectations. 

"Raised by parents who openly went to therapy themselves and who sent their children as well, today's 20- and 30-somethings turn to therapy sooner and with fewer reservations than young people did in previous eras," Drexler wrote. 

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Desiree Bowie is a writer and movie lover from Los Angeles, California. Follow her on Twitter @dangerbowie