There are an estimated 83.1 million people living in the United States that were born between 1982 and 2000. In fact, according to the United States Census Bureau, this generation—the Millennial generation—is set to surpass the prior generation—the Baby Boomers—to become the largest living generation in history.
Each generation is defined by the specific fluctuations in focus that occur. The Baby Boomer generation—those born between 1946 and 1964—prioritized things like cultural identity. Most Boomers can be characterized as being either conservative and reserved or as being a proponent of change. Thanks to inheriting some benefits from their parents’ generation, and an economy that still offered affordable homes, “The American Dream” was still very reachable for them.
Following them, the Millennial generation shifted its focus away from things like religion and historical awareness and prioritized technological access, cultural diversity, and workplace fulfillment. This generation is described as being the most educated, accepting, and focused on their wellbeing. However, despite this, and despite having relatively affordable healthcare, certain health conditions have increased in prevalence.
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index reports that from 2014 to 2017, major depression has increased in Millennials by 31%. Most researchers agree this uptick in depression is largely due to the societal pressure to do more—live further away from their job, work longer hours, and produce more output—all with fewer resources—living in more densely populated areas, earning less money than previous generations, and paying off massive student loan debt. Among other things, this has caused many Millennials to become unable to achieve certain “rites of passage” into adulthood—rites that the previous generations were afforded.
These achievements, such as paying rent, buying a home, or buying a car, which were once easily attainable, mark important milestones in a person’s life. These milestones are the markers by which many determine if they are satisfied with the path their life is moving on. When these things become difficult or impossible to afford, it becomes harder to remain optimistic. As a result, many Millennials are being forced to accept that they may not be able to live the same way as their parents did—perhaps even to their disappointment. However unreasonable the situation may be, it does not mean it’s easy to digest. Because of this, it is no wonder so many members of the Millennial generation are struggling with depression.
When dealing with depression, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible to reduce the amount of time it takes away from living a normal life. Traditionally, this means attending regular sessions with a counselor or therapist. This level of treatment is enough for many, though some individuals may also benefit from holistic supplements, antidepressant medications, or other pharmacological interventions.
Therapy for depression is highly effective—just having a neutral third party to talk to can work wonders for a person’s mental health. A therapist can work with an individual to help them identify situational triggers that may heighten their depressive symptoms, and help them develop healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with their symptoms.
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