Compared to previous generations, millennials are more inclined to seek mental health treatment. There are a variety of factors that contribute to these higher rates of mental health treatment, including higher rates of mental illness and decreases in the stigma surrounding professional mental health care.

An Anxious Generation

Members of the generation known as “millennials” were born between 1981 and 1996. As a whole, millennials tend to have higher rates of anxiety than prior generations. According to one study, 39% of the participating millennials noted that their stress levels had increased over the past year.

Some professionals attribute the increase in mood disorders among millennials to decreased sleep, fewer face-to-face connections with friends and higher rates of digital media consumption. A study in 2015 indicated that people between the ages of 25–34 check their digital devices 50 times per day.

Other common sources of stress and anxiety for millennials tend to be work, finances and job security. While these may seem like fairly typical sources of stress for any adult age group, these stressors tend to be most significant for millennials. In college years, millennials spend more time studying than previous generations and have more competition in the job market.

Number of Millennials Seeking Help

Millennials seek help for mental health struggles more than any previous generation. One study of millennial mental health statistics showed that 35% of millennials surveyed reported receiving help from a mental health professional.

Accessing treatment can mean many different things for millennials, who are more likely to obtain help through online resources and support than prior generations. A national poll indicated that people are most comfortable accessing services face to face (86%), followed by telephone calls (71%), text messages (57%), email (52%) and social media (49%).

Destigmatizing Mental Health Treatment

Millennials have inadvertently dispelled some of the stigma surrounding mental health as a result of their openness to discuss and treat their mental health needs. Apps like Shine help destigmatize mental health by openly acknowledging it and supporting self-care. In a way that no other generation has managed, millennials talk openly about topics of mental health and therefore, work to normalize mental health needs and challenges.

The Increasing Need for Access to Mental Health Care

A study in 2018 showed that millennials are more likely to be uninsured than both Generation X and Baby Boomers, and 60% of the uninsured millennial population indicated that the main barrier to obtaining insurance was cost.

While millennials are less likely to attend doctor’s visits during a given year, compared to other generations, they were more likely to go to a mental health therapist, acupuncturist, chiropractor or massage therapist. The same study indicated that millennials are more likely to focus on preventative care and wellness and are more inclined than prior generations to access workplace wellness programs. As a result of being underinsured, many more millennials are using savings and even retirement funds to pay for health care needs out of pocket.

As we look at changes in the health care landscape, it is important to focus on the needs of millennials and adapt treatment options accordingly. If you are struggling with mental health and substance abuse challenges, reach out to The Recovery Village to explore options for treatment to meet your needs. The Recovery Village has support available to help you through this difficult time and guide you toward health and wellness.

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