A recent study by Mind Share Partners, Qualtrics and SAP reveals that half of millennials and 75% of Gen Zers have left a job for mental health reasons. In the past 10 years the percentage of young adults experiencing certain types of mental health disorders has increased significantly. The highest increase has been the percentage of people dealing with suicidal thoughts (47 percent between 2008 – 2017). Younger people are dealing with mental illness at about three times the rate of the general population.
What’s behind the rise?
According to Jean Twenge, Professor at San Diego State University, “the rise of the smartphone and social media have at least something to do with it.” According to her analyses, the general pattern is that teens and young adults are spending less time face-to-face with others and more time on their screens. This pattern corresponds with the fact that the majority of Americans owned a smartphone from the beginning of 2012 to 2013. Professor Twenge notes that at that time, mental health issues began to spike; “less time sleeping, less time on face-to-face interactions is not a formula for better mental health.”
A recent publication of the University of Montreal with as title ‘Association of Screen Time and Depression of Adolescence’ also makes a direct link between mental health disorders and social media.
Peter Gray, a research professor at Boston College, makes a different assessment. According to him, it’s not social media or young people’s fractured attention spans that are causing their anxiety; it is school itself. From the mid-1950s society has gradually taken away children’s internal locus of control (someone with an internal locus of control is likely to believe that both successes and failures are due to their own efforts). The result has been that many young people today are lost. “Since the mid-1950s, when they began taking away children’s play, people haven’t learned to take control of their own lives.” Gray said that control is essential to ward off excessive anxiety.
Whatever the cause, the statistic highlights several issues plaguing millennials, like a rise in depression and “deaths of despair” (death from drugs, alcohol and suicide), unaffordable living costs and burnout.
Companies like Cisco are taking action to better confront mental health in the workplace.
You can find the full article via this link