Cindy Gullo, LCPC - Therapist & Counselor
The Blog

Millennials at High Risk For Mental Health Issues

The millennial generation, born between 1981 and 1995, has precariously straddled both worlds; the old, post-industrial age, and the new digital revolution.

This generation grew up during the boom times, and experienced the last, fleeting vestiges of a childhood void of computers and chiefly, the internet. Unfortunately, millennials also witnessed 9/11, watched the horrors of the Iraq War, and entered the workforce as the housing market collapsed. They’ve seen the cost of living skyrocket, and the price of entry into a secure middle-class lifestyle inflated beyond measure. But, counseling and therapy can help millennials cope with these unique life stressors.

Studies find that card-carrying members of the millennial generation are more likely to report feelings of anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide. Researchers pinpoint millennial’s perfectionism as the prime culprit in their increased rates of mental and emotional distress.

Perfectionism is measured in three facets. The first is self-oriented, which is a strong need to reach overly ambitious and in some cases, unrealistic goals. The second facet is one that is socially prescribed, where people feel the need to achieve goals because of outside pressure. The third facet is other-oriented perfectionism, where people have unrealistic expectations of others.

Millenials are a generation which has witnessed and participated in the rise of social media. Everyone’s life is on display 24/7, across the globe. And, it’s almost impossible to escape one’s past. In the digital age, once something is online, it’s online forever. In a tight labor market, employees are likely to sift through an applicant’s online, social media profiles before hiring. It’s no wonder millennials are feeling the pressure and experiencing mental health distress related to all three facets of perfectionism.

Researchers are finding that young adults are feeling increasingly burdened with meeting unrealistic, self and societally-imposed benchmarks and lofty goals. Millenials are feeling pressured to conform to ever increasing standards in all spheres, personal and professional. ‘Just right’ isn’t good enough for millennials; everything must be perfect.

Studies show that self-oriented perfectionism has drastically risensince the research was first conducted in the early 1980s. Tests on millennial subjects reveal that this generation scores the highest on all three facets of perfectionism. The increasingly competitive career and social world, fueled by the flames of social media,is making millennials sick.

What can millennials and their loved ones do?

People feeling the pressure of perfectionism and experiencing mental distress because of it can help themselves by shutting off social media. Research shows that scrolling through social media feeds dramatically increases a person’s feelings of anxiety. Counseling and therapy can also help people reframe their mindset and craft and implement coping mechanisms. With outside help and a vacation from the pressures of social media and the internet age, millennials can achieve a sense of well-being in a competitive world.

If you’re a millennial and you’re struggling with mental health issues, contact me today to schedule a free 15-minute phone conusltation.