The term “millennial” is used to refer to the world’s newest coming of age adults and adolescents. In certain circles, they are also known as “generation Y,” “nexters” or “digital natives,” and were roughly born between 1982 and 2003. As advertisers and investors try to figure out what appeals to this demographic, other experts are concerned with its resilience to future challenges. However, an overlooked development is that millennials are also changing the face of modern mental health care in direct and indirect ways.
What defines the millennial generation?
In order to fully grasp how this new, maturing generation is impacting the field, a person must first understand who these millennials are and how they behave. While every human being has a set of unique, distinguishing features, generations share collective characteristics as well. For example, the baby boomer generation born after World War II was defined by its competitiveness, desire for financial affluence and collaborative spirit in regards to social issues. By comparison, the millennial generation displays ambitious, optimistic and cooperative qualities according to a range of generational studies. But they are also the most exposed to and immersed with the digital technology and media, which can be distracting as much as it is productive.
Data from the American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America survey showed that millennials expressed the highest stress levels over all other generations. Business experts hypothesize that the heightened anxiety is most likely due to the group’s present-day transition to adulthood and the current national economy. In fact, financial stress was linked to high blood pressure and other physical ailments in one study. While overall stress in the United States is declining, it is still a serious issue for many newfound adults. In addition, another study observed that people between the ages of 18 and 30 had a higher risk for other psychological conditions like depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and were less likely to seek treatment.
The supply and demand for e-mental health options
Another challenge facing many millennials is how their emerging adulthood and mental disorders are viewed and addressed by the clinical field. For instance, a 2010 study of the cognitive authority and preference of e-mental health treatments identified a common response from today’s adults: “I did not realize so many options are available.” A significant gap of knowledge regarding the existence of various e-mental health resources was evident, but subjects did heavily utilize search engines like Google and other informational websites to learn about mental health and illness topics.
Similar studies have examined the e-mental health opinions of generation Y as well. One conducted in 2014 interviewed 23 participants with depression or anxiety in addition to suicidal ideation. When the preferences were screened for appearance, content, privacy and support, the results showed that as a whole, this group had a positive reception to and expressed gratitude for online invention options. Specifically, services that were simple to use, interactive and featured web-based community support were the most popular selections.
The millennial generation also requires greater access to these mental health services. A study classified major areas of change and needed improvement for current students’ college counseling and mental health center (CCMHC) administrators. These included an increase of serious mental health worries and demand for services, psychosocial variation within the student demographic, changes in the roles of counseling services and the new institutional challenges to which the field must adapt.
Despite these barriers in accessing resources, this new generation is taking advantage of online options. Millennials are also slowly dissolving the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A report that surveyed almost 900 youth discovered that 85 percent would be comfortable making friends or working together with an individual diagnosed with mental illness. Also, more than 60 percent stated they would be comfortable dating someone with a mental illness and half said they would vote for someone with a mental illness. Most importantly, 70 percent reported that an inability to talk to family or friends would hinder them from seeking help.
Sovereign Health of California is always available to those in need of instant and in-depth treatment and recovery. Our programs consist of comprehensive therapy and other evidence-based methods. Also, these strategies are specialized to fit the exact needs of each admitted client. Call (866) 819-0427 or visit our website to speak with a Sovereign representative for more information.
Written by Lee Yates, Sovereign Health Group writer