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How mental health is affecting millennials’ adult life

By Emma Friedman

Millennials are often stereotyped as being entitled and expecting things to be given to them rather than working for them. While older generations worked hard to get what they desired, millennials were given awards for participating instead of excelling. 

On Monday, Oct. 7, Hillary Hoffower published a story in Business Insider, stating that 50% of millennials have left a job for mental health reasons, resulting in the amount of youth affected by mental health to be at an all-time high. 

So, what is the cause for half of a generation to be quitting their jobs due to struggling with their mental health? 

Are millennials rightfully more stressed than ever before causing their spike in mental health issues? Or did their entitled upbringing cause them to be more depressed when they were exposed to the realities of life? 

Hoffower discussed several possibilities of why millennials are more depressed than in previous years. One of which being that the cost to live is increasingly higher putting more financial stress on youth than in the past.

The United States Census of Housing Bureau, has documented the median prices of homes in each state from 1940 to 2000. 

“Median home values adjusted for inflation nearly quadrupled over the 60-year period since the first housing census in 1940. The median value of single-family homes in the United States rose from $30,600 in 1940 to $119,600 in 2000, after adjusting for inflation,” according to the U.S Census of Housing Bureau. 

This document proves that the prices of homes have drastically increased since the previous generations when they were in their 20s and 30s. 

It is not just homes that have raised in price either; city apartments have increased tremendously as well. 

The Housing Bureau’s document validates Hoffower’s theory that financial stress could be a cause of millennials’ depression. The drastic rise in living costs could potentially be causing a strain on millennials’ finances. 

According to a report published by Blue Cross Blue Shield in 2018, the diagnosis of depression has risen by 33% since 2013. This statistic only shows documented cases of depression diagnosed by a doctor, meaning that the actual number could be even higher.

In an essay published in the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Drexl discusses how millennials are the “therapy generation”. 

The stigma behind people that attend therapy has drastically changed over the years, as many millennials openly go to therapy and are not ashamed to admit it. 

So, with more young people going to therapy as a form of treatment, does it mean that millennials are just more open about their mental health and willing to get help for it than previous generations? Or are millennials truly more depressed due to financial pressure and their entitled upbringing?

I believe it is a combination. More people are coming forward and openly discussing their problems than in the past, but they also may be experiencing more financial pressure causing their stress. 

College debt, rising housing rates, and a competitive job market are just the tip of the iceberg when discussing things that cause millennial stress. There are many things that cause strain on millennials’ mental health and with therapy being more normalized than in the past, more diagnoses have been made.     

Older generations had stress as well that could cause mental health issues and depression, but it was less openly discussed and kept private. It is possible the entitled mindset of millennials may cause them not to acknowledge older generations’ depression and believe they have it worse. 

I do not believe that millennials feel depressed due to their entitled behavior. Though, I do believe they think they have it worse than previous generations because of this mindset. There are many reasons that millennials may be depressed and want to receive treatment that are unrelated to their entitled upbringing. 

While their participation awards may have given them a skewed idea of what life is like, millennials depression goes far beyond their entitled upbringing.

Emma Friedman can be reached at Emma.friedman@spartans.ut.edu

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