Millennials- people born between 1983 and 1998 who are 21 – 36 years old in 2019.
According to the BCBS Health Index, in 2017, millennials had an average health index of 95.1, meaning millennials as a group were living at about 95% of their optimal health.
Younger generation is facing a lot more health challenges at an earlier ages than the previous generations. Although millennials may seem to have a greater investment in health and wellness than generations before them, but the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) suggest that they are substantially less healthy as they age.
The top 10 conditions affecting millennials are –
- Major depression
- Substance use disorder
- Alcohol use disorder
- Psychotic conditions
- Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- High cholesterol
- Tobacco use disorder
- Type 2 diabetes
“Because significant health challenges are rising among millennials earlier than in previous generations, we must address these issues now,” said Dr. Vincent Nelson.
Mental Health conditions Millennials face
In comparison to the national population, millennials are greatly affected by behavioral health conditions than physical with the highest increase in depression and hyperactivity.
Major depression, substance abuse disorder, and alcohol use disorder were the top three conditions for millennials.
The following circumstances in which millennials grew up are contributing factors:
1. Technological advances
Because of technology, millennials were the first generation to grow up without learning how to maintain eye contact, become adept at reading facial expressions, or deepen awareness of the textures of emotions within themselves or others.
2. Media overload
“Stories of terrorism, natural disasters, or catastrophes that were nonexistent generations ago, are now available around the clock,” Serani said. “Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and fear regarding these events permeated into the world of millennials either by witnessing such stories themselves, or through the contagious fear reactions from adults in their family circle.”
3. Everyone wins mentality
“Everyone gets a trophy’ or ‘there are no strikeouts’ impedes the natural learning curve of dealing with failure and building resiliency. As a result, many millennials encounter difficulty tolerating stressful events, frustrating easily, and avoiding demands so as not to feel overwhelmed,” said Serani.
4. Two-income households
“Not having the ease that previous generations had, like family dinner time and predictable work and weekend hours, created a more solitary world for millennials, wrapping them in a bubble of avoidance and isolation even more,” she said.
5. Undefined work schedules
While many older millennials have the opportunity to work in careers that don’t have set schedules and allow for remote access. And as such, [they] never really have ‘away time’ to decompress or refuel. All of these instances heighten physical and emotional risk factors.
Suggestions for Millennials
Practicing self care is advisable for millennials. Self-care is a learned behavior. It isn’t something that just occurs. [Millennials should] focus on [incorporating] self-care skills like mindfulness, good eating, healthy sleep, and exercise into their life not for the short run, but as a long-term commitment.
Unplugging from technology, work, and media, and replacing those with meaningful face-to-face time with others are other forms of self-care.
Avery adds that millennials can help reduce the stigma around mental illness by prioritizing their mental health, being open about their struggles, and getting help when they feel unwell or stressed.
Nobody is immune to mental illness and substance use disorders. [Millennials] should learn the signs and symptoms of these disorders in themselves and their peers.