The Millennial Mental Health Crisis: 12 Factors Contributing to Rising Rates of Anxiety and Depression

By Aaron Stone

Millennials are regarded as the most anxious generation the human race has seen thus far. There is a theme of generalization among millennials about the level of depression and anxiety that’s becoming rampant among them. American Psychology Association cited that 12% of millennials are diagnosed with anxiety disorder, while 44% experience depression symptoms. So Why are millennials plunged into this health crisis? The following are the reasons for anxiety and depression among the millennials. 

Economic Uncertainty 

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The great economic crisis of 2008 and other economic recessions worldwide have placed millennials in a consistent state of depression and anxiety about the future. This is an excellent source of stress and anxiety that’s not spoken of enough because the millennial’s peak year comes during economic depression, which makes them worried and keeps them up at night. According to Northwestern Mutual’s 2023 planning and progress study, about 53% of millennials in America pointed to economic uncertainty as the leading cause of their anxiety and depression. 

Perfectionism 

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Almost every anxious and depressed millennial he comes across is known as a perfectionist. Being a perfectionist is a great thing that ensures they keep attention to details and execute their work to the fullest. However, being overly perfectionist has been seen as one of the most common issues leading to mental health crises. Millennials often beat themselves up whenever they fail to reach a milestone or get a level of excellence at something. Most of them get worried and have sleepless nights over something they are obsessed with, which goes sideways. All this pressure builds up anxiety and depression until there’s nowhere to diffuse, and they enter the breaking point of a full-blown health crisis. 

Social Media

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My opinion of social media still aligns with the idea of the double-edged sword that is either detrimental or laudable. Social media is a worldwide piece of innovation that gets people closer to the happening in the world. A report by Acenda found that 77% of American millennials stay on social media at least once a day. That’s an outrageous number of looks at the collision of lousy news and unfiltered information churned out every second. Millennials are the showbiz generation that thrives at oppressing their peers; they’ve weaponized social media platforms for this cause, where they create unfair comparisons games like posting their best videos and pictures, making other people feel less of themselves because they couldn’t keep up. Another issue is the popularity contests among the millennials, which makes them scramble for likes and comment; failure to get the required engagement over time often lead to anxiety and unfortunate depression. 

Student Loans Debts 

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Debt is a joy killer. At this age, millennials are expected to go to college for their bachelor’s at least; if not, they should try out a master’s or Ph.D. D. This level of education is not quite affordable by American standards; most millennials can afford this, so they take out student loans. Getting out of school, millennials are forced to scramble for low-paying jobs, get a car, get housing loans, and other basic needs. These debts alone are enough to worry even the strongest millennials. Wallowing in debt is a surefire way to be anxious and depressed. Student loan interest piles up over time, so it takes longer to pay it off after graduation. The weight of a long-term is a net negative for everyone’s mental health, leading to depression, anxiety, and, in some cases, suicide. 

Political Polarization

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The United States political landscape and news consumption have become increasingly polarized in recent decades. From 2005 to 2018, 19.8% of millennials identified as liberals, while 18.1% were conservatives. These metrics have been at a stagnating pace with little change. Millennials have increased series of political events in the United States that have affected their mental health. For instance, the issue that comes with the emergence of Barack Obama as the first black president of the United States, followed by the divisive political game state by the Republican Donald Trump, who appointed a conservative Supreme Court and deeply polarized the entire nation with his erratic leaderships has worsened political landscape of the united state. 

Poor Diet and Exercise 

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Food and exercise are two of the most critical factors contributing to well-being. In the tapestry of millennials, they place them below their pecking order. Most millennials skip breakfast and rely on junk food with little nutrients and vitamins. This is the same fate that exercises have within them. Rarely do you see them engage in body improvement exercises. Irregular meal time and lack of exercise wreak havoc on the body’s insulin level and reduces metabolism, leading to fatigue, anxiety, depression, sluggishness, irritability, and fainting. 

Sedentary Lifestyle 

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The prevalence of remote work among millennials has forced most of them to live a lonely and isolated lifestyle. Sitting all day over their laptops and computer screens, they have derived joy in this kind of seclusion under the guise of working and building tech products or enhancing their thought processes. The Millennial generation has seen a lack of active work life, poor workouts after working hours, and commuting through wheel over walking as a kind of flex. This often leads to a bad state of their body, leading to depression and anxiety. 

Promiscuous Relationships 

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The gale of promiscuity might have been a long-term phenomenon among the previous generation, but the newfound level that millennials have taken this practice is astounding. Studies have shown the changing views on sexual orientation among American millennials. The most profound one was the increase in the number of sexual partners they have with the fulfillment of something within themselves. Millennials have derived joy in short-term pleasure without regard for the long-term effect of the promise and failed relationships, leading to emotionally gutting behavior. Among the millennials, the majority of them are not ready for the type of mental backlash that comes with this sexual investment, and this often proves too costly for their embarks states, leading to depression and anxiety. 

Caffeine Addiction 

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Too much caffeine has been proven to be one of the most common anxiety factors among millennials. This is further backed by a Florida State University survey, where a significant correlation was found between caffeine intake, depressive mood, and anxiety. Every millennial derives joy in coffee intake, one of the chief sources of caffeine and other caffeinated drinks. Whenever the body system is in a fight or flight, it leads to depression and anxiety. 

Traumatic Experiences 

Trauma creates a sense of confusion, stress, uncertainty, and isolation, among others. These factors are the resultant effect of the constant state of lethal vulnerability that’s prevalent among the millennials. Trauma, such as violence in their communities or being jilted by their loved ones, can cause difficulties in most millennials’ daily lives and functioning. This often leads to problems in trusting people, making it harder for them to maintain relationships, hold down a job, or derive pleasure in things you love to do. 

COVID-19 Pandemic 

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The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on millennials’ mental health can not be overemphasized. This has led to a series of job losses, the death of loved ones, and a heightened economic downturn, among others. The pandemic has changed the world order and dynamics, such as social isolation, increased gas prices, costly healthcare, and other factors that worsen millennials’ anxiety and depressive tendencies.  

Negative News Cycle 

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The world is filled with negative news and stories, ranging from the war in Ukraine to another pandemic report. It’s not all rosy for millennials who are forced to deal with the current economic downturn and other problems facing the United States and the world. This is a difficult situation that makes it more difficult to sustain any ounce of hope and positivity, leading to a state of depression and anxiety. 

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