The millennials are more tech-savvy and self-sufficient than their previous counterparts.
By Dr. Anuneet Sabharwal
The generation gap has its own set of pros and cons. Every generation is often judged by the previous generation, which could be because of social media and the advancements they enjoy. Millennials are used to such criticism. It is a restless and anxious generation, also known as Generation X or Z, obsessed with the technology, and tries hard to fit themselves into the social media driven the world. The millennials are more tech-savvy and self-sufficient than their previous counterparts. This can, however, be accompanied by mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and stress.
At what age, mental health issues arise?
As per official mental health statistics, distress, feelings of depression and mental disorder among young adults are peaking now, a number significantly higher than the last decade.
As per Cigna TTK Health Insurance Co., more than 94% of the Indian youth admit being stressed, and this is an alarming number, especially for a country known for the relaxation techniques of yoga and meditation. Astonishingly, the global average for millennials feeling stressed (from ages 18 to 34 years) sums up to 86%. While in the UK, around 50% of mental health problems arise by the age of 14, more than 70% are stressed by the age of 24.
What are the factors that affect mental health?
With technology and dominating parents being common factors, the uncertainty of the future, relationship concerns, academics and excelling in pursuits are some of the other key reasons.
According to 2012, the World Health Organization’s Mental Health Status for Adolescents in Southeast Asia: Evidence for Action report, 1 out of 4 teenagers deal with depression in India. Parental expectations and peer pressure are the main sources of anxiety and stress that affect their performance in school or college.
The younger generation devotes much more time in academics, compared to their previous generation, and is more competitive. Though being anxious about careers, relationships and social acceptance are common causes, the growing number amongst youngsters going through mental health problems is a matter of concern.
With the ‘start-up explosion,’ many millennials choose to work at start-ups or try their luck as an entrepreneur after completing their higher education. But in recent times, many of them have had their dreams shattered after financing slowed down, and they had to either shut their venture or fire their employees. This section of youngsters is trying to get their career back on track.
Maintenance of social media diary
To make every picture posted look fabulous or perfect, youngsters use several filters and regularly post on social media about their ‘happening’ lives. The fear of social embarrassment and rejection drives the current generation to extremes. Youngsters compare themselves with others, without realizing their own strengths and weakness. Mental disorders tend to occur if they are unable to reach their self-expectations.
How to deal with it?
India has witnessed a drastic but positive change in mental health awareness. Several celebrities such as Deepika Padukone and Karan Johar, have discussed the issue on global platforms. To motivate the millennial to come forward and address the issue, documentaries like ‘Dear Zindagi’ have come up, and party succeeded.
But what a teenager can do to cope up with the problem?
Positive approach: It might be difficult during a bout of extreme anxiety or depression, but infusing positive thoughts can help in clearing your head of all that negativity. Boosting yourself with ‘I will do my best’ instead of ‘I will clear the test’ halts negative thoughts.
Move around: Buckle up and move around, as it is the best way to release stress and tension. Mild exercise can cheer up the mood, and reduce anxiety.
Preparing a study strategy: Youngsters are more concerned about developing a study method to eliminate the ‘exam anxiety and stress’. Cramming at the last moment and not sleeping properly, can disturb the ability to concentrate. Break down chapters
into small topics and set deadlines.
Follow a healthy diet: It helps in feeling good about yourself, besides feeding the brain. Follow a healthy diet and a regular routine to manage stressful situations easily. The best method is to talk about your issues with your family and friends. They can help you cope up with the situation and comfort you during tough times.
(The author is MBBS and MD in Psychiatry. He has worked as a senior resident at GB Pant Hospital. Views expressed are the author’s personal.)