Millennials and Mental Health

I’m glad that we live in a year where we can talk about mental health and battling issues like depression, anxiety, or PTSD with the public. As a student finishing up college, I’ve heard my fair share of friends and classmates who have struggled with a mental health issue at one point or another. Someone I know said recently that it’s almost unheard of to not have a mental issue with the amount of stress we go through from school, relationships, career searching, and simply acting like an adult trapped in a child’s body. That sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s no surprise know that being a millenial can be difficult. But is being a college student, or even a millennial in general a precedent for having a mental issue?

A recent study in the UK found that millennials are much experiencing higher levels of anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicidethan the generations of our parents and earlier. While the root reasons for this rise in mental health issues isn’t defined, experts are pointing it to our addiction in smartphone usage, high levels of perfectionism, and pressure from those older than us to continually outperform. I find this somewhat true, as it seems like finding a job, portraying a “perfect life” on social media, and landing the dream job is feeling more difficult than ever.

Being a millennial is more difficult with depression.

Mental Health and Alcohol Addiction

College campuses are known for their constant brewing of good beer, good frats, good parties, and a good tolerance towards drinks at happy hour. Thousands of students go out on the weekend to have fun and forget about the tests they either terribly failed at or passed with flying colors. There’s nothing wrong with this habit if it’s not overdone, but add in a poor state of mental health and the results can become less than good. Alcohol can seriously tamper with someone’s mental and physical health over a long period of time.

Even without substance abuse, many millennials, especially those in the college system are reporting all time highs of depression and anxiety than any other generation. We suffer wanting to be the best person we know, whether it’s being the prettiest, the most wealthy, the smartest, the most popular, or having the job at the company highest on the Fortune 500. Just visit a high school on college decision day to get a sense of the competition and tension that students nearing their “peak years” can already go through.

I attended an accelerated high school with many students who came from elite backgrounds. Many wanted to go to the “best” college and have the “best” entrepreneur, engineering, or research career. I remember vividly at my own decision day hearing the humble brags from nearly one third of my class who got into Ivy Leagues. As the Big Ten bound student from a single parent family, I nearly cried. When teachers are overly congratulating the “Ivy” feats and I’m feeling pitted against the person next to me, I want to escape. But looking back at the situation, who knows if those students who were attending their (or their parent’s) dream schools were completely happy about it. We as millennials don’t tell each other we want to be dominant or “perfect”, but on the deep down we sometimes can’t help it. It’s destroying us all on the inside.

While many other older adults can relate to the same desires, it’s the imposter syndrome and constant blame from our counterparts to stop complaining about our circumstances.We’ve all heard the stereotype that millennials are lazy, constantly need a “save space”, and are entitled, but research says otherwise. Our need for perfectionism is taking us down the path of turning the drugs, alcohol, and self-doubt more than ever.

Lots of mental health research has linked severe perfectionism with issues like anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. With so much mounting pressure, some feel that the perfect drug is downing a few drinks on a Saturday night. However, a night out in the town or kicking back with shots in the dorm room can turn into an unhealthy over reliance. Drug and alcohol addiction cares about who know one is, how much they make, or how strong they are physically. Anyone can fall victim to addiction and the negative effects include dealing with damaging physical side effects from the “come down”, getting into financial and legal trouble, and destroying relationships with families and friends.

Getting Help as a Millennial

Talking to others about your fears and using health activities to take your mind off the pressure is the best thing to do. Millennials are dubbed as the most anxious and depressive generation of all time, and research proves it.

However, the wrong way to deal with the issue is to drink or get high to escape reality. It’s far better to acknowledge that you have a problem on your hands and need to see a professional who is trained in the area.Feeling depressed as a millennial or overly anxious is nothing to be embarrassed about, as we all feel it at some point in our life. With millenial’s heavy smartphone usage and social media pressures that fuel insecurities, it’s more important than ever to take action against the negative thoughts that are starting to bud in our head. Being abused, neglected, or regularly consuming alcohol or drugs can also lead to depression itself, so watch your daily activities.

More importantly, you personally need help or are feeling suicidal thoughts, don’t hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline or talk to a counselor in your local area who understands where you are coming from. They are trained to address your problems and can lead you to a custom path to achieve wellness so you feel you best again. From using holistic medicine for prescribing several sessions of counseling, they will have your back.

As someone who once experienced depression, I can say that talking to a counselor really helped me understand my thought process and know how to stop negative thoughts or actions in their tracks. We only have one life to live, be sure to take charge of your present!

Take charge of your depression and get help.

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