Depression Amongst Millennials – Why Are They Affected at Higher Rates?

Millennials are getting hit hard by depression. One in five young workers has experienced on-the-job depression, compared to only 16 percent of Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers.

The group, born between 1978 and 1999, also has higher depression rates overall, and suffers from frequent stress, according to USA Today. Almost 40 percent of millennials say their stress is increasing, and it causes sleep problems in more than half of these young adults.

Depression leads to job woes

Depression among millennials takes a toll on them, and also those around them. According to a white paper from Bensinger, DuPont & Associates, millennials have impaired functioning on the job and higher rates of absenteeism, as well as more conflict and incidents of getting written up. That’s in addition to the normal effects of depression, which include headaches, sleep problems, loss of appetite, irritability impaired concentration, and feelings of sadness, guilt and anxiety. All of those symptoms can impede job performance, as well as a person’s overall life.

Hovering parents, crash-landing offspring

What’s behind this depression rate? Brooke Donatone, a New York psychotherapist wrote in the Washington Post that parenting plays a big role. Many millennials had “helicopter parents” who hovered close by, protecting them from normal bumps in the road. Now, they lack basic conflict resolution skills that they never had a chance to learn during their childhood and teen years. Many were also pushed to be high achievers in school at the expense of emotional development. This causes them to overreact to natural stressors that previous generations dealt with more effectively. 

Fixing the damage

Fortunately, it’s not too late for millennials to learn skills they didn’t learn at a young age. Good therapists, like the ones available through the WebPsychology search, help their clients assess any life skills gaps and address them. Medication may also be appropriate to alleviate symptoms while a person works on the core issues.

Depression sufferers also have many self-help options. Exercise is very effective because it raises endorphin levels, resulting in an improved mood. Keeping a journal, socializing regularly, and avoiding the temptation to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol are also sound strategies.

Many workplaces have Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to help workers with depression and other mental health issues. Because of the prevalence of on-the-job depression among millennials, these programs have experience helping them deal with it and pointing them toward local resources.