Millennials & Depression: A Growing Problem?

Millennials & Depression: A Growing Problem?

According to the latest Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index, of the top 10 health conditions among millennials, six are behavioral-health related. One of those leading health problems is major depression (up 31 percent in 2017 from prevalence in 2014).

What is depression?

Depression is not just “all in your head.” It’s a real and serious illness caused by changes in brain chemistry. Research has also shown that other factors may contribute to the onset of depression, including genetics, changes in hormone levels, certain health conditions, stress, grief or difficult life circumstances. Depression’s impact may be more severe when experienced in combination with other medical issues like diabe-tes, heart disease, stroke, anxiety or substance abuse.

Why is depression on the rise among millennials?

Digital media usage could be partly to blame, although more research is needed. Increased isolation and competition, sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, and lack of exercise could also play a role. (Regardless of the reason, studies continue to show that depression is a growing problem in the U.S.)

Despite the numbers, the good news is, depression may be gaining greater acceptance. Younger generations may be more willing to talk openly about their mental health struggles with their family, peers and doctors—causing an increase in diagnosis and treatment.

How is it treated?

Depending on your symptoms and health, your provider or therapist may recommend behavioral counseling, medications and/or lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet
  • Getting enough quality sleep
  • Meditating and embracing positive thinking
  • Reducing stress
  • Building and maintaining strong social connections

While it’s far from easy, if you think you may be depressed, seeking help from a health care provider is critical.

Holland Hospital Behavioral Health Services delivers comprehensive, compassionate and confidential mental health care for people of all ages, including treatment for depression. Call (616) 355-3926.