Millennials, also known as Generation Y, follow Generation X and are often representing those born in the early 1980’s and the mid 1990’s to early 2000s. Millennials are a tough nut to crack in society, having experienced a lot of change economically, socially and culturally. Millennials seem to be the ones to carry a stigma of mental health issues, but the positive news is that despite mental health becoming more a prominent topic among many men and women due to the numbers increasing, help is available. However, despite so many suffer suffering from a mental health issue, the situation is changing somewhat.
The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy Attitudes Survey found that in 2004, 60% of Brits had agreed that people send too much time dwelling on emotional difficulties or situations. The same assertion has dropped significantly, and in 2014 was recorded at 39%. And the positive change, seems to be pioneered by millennials. Despite millennials considering therapy as a self-indulgent activity, the majority of the younger generation see it as self-care and making sure we stay as healthy as we can.
Well Doing, a therapist directory and mental health resource founded by Louise Chunn, claims that a lot of their website traffic comes from millennials, who make up two thirds of incoming traffic for advice. Louise Chunn comments: ‘We get a lot of traffic when we do things about millennial anxiety or depression, things to do with social media, social anxiety, panic attacks…things that are certainly more talked about by younger people’. This idea of therapy for the millennials is still an early concept for many, when compared to America, where receiving therapy or attending counselling sessions is more of a routine and accepted across the US due to their cultural open nature, but for Brits this inability to want to speak openly is what adds a taboo to seeking help. It is baffling considering mental health charity MIND claims that one in four people will experience a mental health problem every year, whilst 17% of adults and 10% of children are affected. Moreover, Joshua Miles, a psychotherapist claims his clientele is also made up of those aged 20-25 years old. He has added that ‘in older generations there is still a stigma of mental health and not talking about is to I definitely think there is something in millennials who are more open to it. I think it’s something about the age and the time you were born.’
What’s more, BACP has revealed that older people are getting therapy as much as younger people, considering the largest age category are those 35-44, however, what helps is that the key to accepting help is facilitated by the younger generation who seem to be more attentive to their health and mental state, and understanding of its impact, via social media and public openness by celebrities who encourage to speak up. And unfortunately, young people in the UK have some of the poorest mental well-being in the world, with Japan falling below British millennials, suffering from anxiety and stress. In a recent survey commissioned by the Varkey Foundation which questioned the attitudes and opinions of more than 20,000 15–21-year-old from around the world, unfortunately British teenagers ranked very low – 19th place to be exact. The survey had revealed that over half of UK millennials that were questions, said that money was one of their top three causes of anxiety and that they would choose ‘working hard and getting on in life’ as their most important value in life. Statistics illustrating the depth of mental health in the UK has been supported by Theresa May, the Prime Minister whose strategy to ensure anyone with a mental health issue is supported includes first-aid training for teachers, peer mentoring and an initiative to tackle the stigma. It goes without saying that school tends to be a catalyst for many millennials suffer from anxiety and or depression. Research has shown that three students in every classroom suffer from a mental health condition.
It has also been commonly asserted that millennials also name terrorism and conflict as a large concern, which was found to be one of the most common fears included in the survey. This was found to be the same for young people across all countries but China, where their younger generation are exclusively worried about climate change. Some of the other results from the survey about what millennials are afraid of include: More than two thirds of British young people think their country is a good place to live and settle, scoring more highly than France, Italy and the US; but significantly lower than Germany and China.