As COVID-19 continues to rise, so do mental-health problems, especially among Millennials. A lot of this has to do with uncertainty.
Young people report being worried about the health of older relatives and loved ones, their social lives being significantly disrupted by stay-at-home orders, and their job stability. They are more likely to have lost their job because of the pandemic.
According to a 2019 report from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, major depression diagnoses are rising faster for millennials — a 47% increase since 2013 — compared to any other age group. And a 2018 survey from the American Psychiatry Association found that they are by and large the most anxious generation.
Angelica Harris, 27, of Detroit is a single mom and lives at home with her three children. She works as an assistant at a local law firm and is now listed as an essential worker during the pandemic.
Harris says she struggles to find a balance between protecting her family from COVID-19 and staying employed.
“My biggest fear is bringing this deadly virus home to my family,” Harris said. “I am a single mom and an essential worker, so I have to go out every day in order to keep the bills paid. I am not in a position to take time-off work or use vacation time and that gives me extreme anxiety. I juggle the thoughts of keeping my family safe from this pandemic or to keep the bills paid and that is the most challenging thing in the world.”
Harris says during her time at work; she finds herself falling into depression just about every day.
“The thought of contacting this virus and my children left in this world alone is what I think about sitting at my desk,” Harris expressed. “I try everything to stay focused, but the more alone time I get since we are all social distancing at work, the more depressed I get.”
Dr. Danielle Penson, Southfield’s clinician, says anxiety and depression are commonly seen mental health disorders among millennials.
“This generation is faced with financial strain, loneliness, perfectionism, burnout and other major stressors. Although these are not new stimulants, they are seen more vividly, because of various forms of social media and technology outlets,” Penson, 39 said. “People are open to share personal things in life that past generations kept private. This causes individuals to compete with what is perceived online. This can ultimately lead to depression and anxiety.”
There are many different ways. Millennials can care for their mental health during the health crisis, no matter the circumstances, Penson says.
“Millennials can protect their mental health by participating in individual and/or group therapy sessions,” she said. “When an individual finds a clinician that they are comfortable with, they are able to heal, grow and stabilize themselves mentally. It is an opportunity to explore areas of darkness and move forward into endless possibilities. Therapy allows individuals the opportunity to heal what was once concealed. During these unprecedented times, everyone needs a safe space to help balance life. Other ways of protecting your mental health is finding your individual tribe. Surrounding yourself around individuals who understand and appreciate the peaks and low places that we are all faced with during these perilous times.”
For many year’s individuals had negative outlooks regarding therapeutic services, Penson expressed.
“There was hefty judgment and backlash regarding receiving services. However, millennials are known for breaking barriers and doing things opposite of past norms,” she said. “Millennials are more open to self-freedom and have a non-settling mentality which creates a sense of willingness to embrace healing. Technology and social media have also played a keen part in millennials finding comfort in therapy. Many celebrities are openly posting and speaking out about the necessities of obtaining support and help.”
Every generation deals with stress and change differently. As millennials are now entering a different stage in adulthood, including marriage, kids, career, and a pandemic, they can find ways to cope through this new way of life.
Coping through a pandemic is individualized; it depends on personal perspective, Penson expressed.
“Although this is a challenging time for everyone, some have utilized this time as a break and reset. Others are trying to maintain and balance life during this quarantined experience. Self-Evaluation and reflection are pivotal…Look at where you are in life and find creative measures that will be beneficial to your mental, financial and spiritual health,” she added.