We live in a well-connected world. People and services are now available at a touch and sometimes even without that – especially if you have the right kind of sensors and surveillance installed. Allegedly, the millennial generation has had it “easy” given the rampant technological advancements that bring everything together. However, mental health, in general, is declining exponentially. So where did it all go wrong?
Who are the Millennial?
Although there is no officially specified date range, people born between the late 1970s and early 1990s are collectively put in this generation. They are the ones who now aged between 25 and 45 years – the working “adults”.
They were preceded by the Generation X (mid-1960s to early 1970s) and Baby Boomers (late 1940s to mid-1960s). Both of these generations were tattered by the World War II and hence struggled considerably during their adolescence to survive. Comparatively, the Millennials were born during stable times where the only challenge was to keep up with the evolving environment.
What are the Mental Health Statistics Today?
It’s not a pretty picture.
According to statistics, 1 in 5 adults in the US experiences mental health illness in a year. 1 in 25 adults experiences mental health illnesses that are debilitating. Individuals with serious mental illnesses are prone to other chronic medical conditions which may or may not be treatable. On average, their lives are compromised by up to 25 years as compared to a healthy individual with the same vitals.
According to another resource, clinical depression is the second leading cause of disability worldwide and a major contributor to suicide and coronary diseases. Globally, 1 in 6 individuals are combating mental health problems.
And if the Millennial seems to be showing bad statistics, rest assured the numbers for Generation Z is only worsening, if at all. Apparently, something went wrong with the millennial generation and the adverse effects continue.
Probable Causes of Mental Health Decline
To give it a fair share of attention, there are many, each more daunting than the other. There are speculations backed by research but there is no definitive single reason why mental health is declining in Millennials, except for the fact that their environment was different from the previous generations.
While their predecessors were consumed with thoughts of survival and sustenance, the Millennials were given the pretext of a better and stable life, right from their first bite. They grew up to get educated in different disciplines, all promoting social and societal growth. Sustenance had already been taken care of; the Millennials were focused on luxuries instead.
According to a research, this might have made Millennials pursue perfectionism (and get overburdened by it) more than their predecessors. This burden was previously unknown and has its roots in the Millennials setting dauntingly high standards for themselves. It could be peer competition, an individualistic approach to life or the result of parents pushing their children to their limits. Nevertheless, Millennials are known to bring this on themselves.
The Social Media Phenomenon
Several other resources site social media to be one of the leading reasons behind mental health decline. The beauty of this topic is that social media works in a number of ways to make this happen.
This resource comprehensively talks about how social media has fashioned people’s lives and expectations. Teenagers and adults are constantly glued to their phones and/or handheld gadgets, looking at the world through their 5’ screens, sharing their opinions.
Individuals seek approval from others they may or may not know. The numbers game is strong – a person with high followers on Facebook automatically becomes ‘more likable’ in the eyes of their peers. After all, there must be something s/he is doing right to have that kind of following.
So if an individual does everything right and still doesn’t have the right numbers to show for it, their self-confidence, self-value automatically takes a plunge. What we don’t realize is that social channels including Facebook aren’t safe!
Another way this works is that because social interactions via social media channels are essentially text-based, it is too easy to fake happiness and conceal problems, making the Millennials (and the following generations) feel more lonely than ever. Despite the world shrinking into a global village, the distances between people and their emotions have increased exponentially. It’s time we have screen rules for kids as well as adults.
The Constant Connection
There was a time when people would reach the office by 9 in the morning, work through the day, and leave office at 5 PM knowing the rest of their day was reserved for themselves and their families. This isn’t the case anymore.
Some resources blame the act of being constantly connected to work and obligations as the major reason behind mental health decline. Millennials can’t catch a break. Even on their break, they’ll still be connected to their work, replying to their emails and handling important tasks at work. The idea of Digital nomadic lifestyle has further added to these worries. Even when the Millennial isn’t working, they are.
Admittedly, this may be the reason why the world has progressed leaps and bounds over the last decade and not so much previously. Technological advancements are more rampant today than ever before. All the additional hard work is paying off for sure. But it does have a toll on people and their ability to handle mental stress. Add the need for perfection to this equation and you’ll understand why insomnia and sleep disorders are also on the rise.
What Can Be Done?
The first step towards recovery is to realize there is a problem. You must understand why it is happening. For whatever reason you find yourself swamped with stress, find it within your heart to just let it be.
There will always be things outside your control. There will always be something slipping from your hands. You don’t have to worry. Walk at your own pace and understand that you and your peers aren’t necessarily headed in the same direction. The competition isn’t really there.
Exercise, sports, and self-realization (meditation) go a long way in promoting mental health. Whenever you feel stressed, ask yourself – is it really worth losing 25 years of your life over? Also, don’t shy away from seeking professional help. You can choose a reliable telemedicine platform operated by a top telehealth company to contact a mental health counselor from the comfort of your home.