This steady rise in anxiety levels is often accredited to the high performance expectations that both parents and schools hold, demanding academic success, participation in a slew of extracurricular activities, and the acceptance to multiple esteemed universities.
However, these feelings of anxiety do not stop when college begins. On the contrary, college-age millennials are often faced with heightened pressure to outperform their classmates — most of whom are just as hard-working and accomplished as they are. In order to stand out from the crowd, many students choose to juggle a 12- to 15-credit class schedule, a part-time job and/or internship, participation in student-run organizations, and student leadership roles on top of their normal social and familial obligations.
Social media also contributes to millennials’ desire to achieve perfection. It is no secret that social media is used as almost a highlight reel of sorts, where users carefully curate the portions of their lives to show off — focusing mostly on the positive and steering clear of any events that may seem commonplace, boring, or even make them appear vulnerable. This habit of publishing only great accomplishments and exciting life events (i.e., a new relationship, a promotion, etc.) leads countless users to feel inadequate in comparison.
Although mental illness affects millions of Americans every year, it is one of the least discussed and most stigmatized topics. Due to the negative connotations associated with mental illness, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reported that in 2014, only 44 percent of adults with diagnosable mental health problems and less than 20 percent of children and adolescents received needed treatment. Neglecting to seek proper treatment can lead to even worse circumstances, seeing as addiction is coupled with psychiatric problems and those with mental illnesses are more likely to be victims of physical, domestic, and/or sexual violence.
In spite of millennials’ resilient nature and determination to care for themselves, it is important to note that caring for oneself also includes seeking help from others — especially in the case of mental illness. Rather than putting on a brave face and enduring the effects of crippling anxiety and/or depression, please seek help from a trained mental health specialist. You will thank yourself for it later.