Millennials in Halton and beyond are often the subject of criticism, and even ridicule (did you hear the one about how we can’t afford housing because we keep buying avocados?), but being young in a modern Western world comes with serious pressures and challenges.
Many factors influence depression and mental health and well-being, the pressures and challenges of a modern Western world included. That being said, Canada’s youngest generation in the workforce is actually the most likely to have experience with depression. According to a recent survey on mental health in the workplace by Ipsos, one in every two millennials in the workplace (aged 18-34) say they have experienced depression.
To put that in perspective, that’s 50 per cent of Canada’s youngest employees that say they’ve experienced depression, compared to 39 per cent of GenXers (aged 35-54) and 29 per cent of Boomers (aged 55 plus).
Yes, we should be worried about millennials’ mental health (and that of employees in general, of course).
Mental health is a serious issue, and with half of millennials saying they have experience with depression in Canada, that extends to millennials in Halton.
Not only are millennials in the workforce most likely to experience depression, the survey also revealed that younger workers also more likely to report bullying and discrimination due to mental illness (13 per cent of millennials vs. nine per cent of GenXers vs. eight per cent of Boomers).
Just like there’s physical health, there’s mental health, yet it’s clear that there’s a stigma around mental health that needs to be broken. Hopefully, as more people speak up and take action, we can break that stigma in Halton and beyond.
The Ipsos survey revealed a few other notable findings about millennial workers. According to the survey, millennial workers are also more likely than other age groups to:
- believe they currently have a mental illness (21 per cent of millennials vs. 14 per cent of GenXers vs. nine per cent of Boomers)
- feel nervous, anxious or on edge most days (21 per cent of millennials vs. 11 per cent of GenXers vs. seven per cent of Boomers)
- be unable to control their worrying on most days (20 per cent of millennials vs. 11 per cent of GenXers vs. seven per cent of Boomers)
- find it difficult to cope with these feelings (17 per cent of millennials vs. 11 per cent of GenXers vs. nine per cent of Boomers)
“These trends among younger age groups in the workplace may seem disconcerting,” said Mary Ann Baynton, program director, Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace. “However, these results may partly reflect that younger workers are more aware of mental health and less likely to be silenced by social stigma, which is what we’ve seen through other research.”
It’s great that millennials workers are speaking up about their mental health, and while many Canadian employers are taking action for mental health and wellness in the workplace with initiatives like allowing workers to take mental health days, that doesn’t mean we can stop worrying about mental health in the workplace – and the factors that play into it.
According to the Ipsos survey, millennials are most likely to report experiencing discrimination in the workplace (11 per cent of millennials vs. eight per cent of GenXers vs. seven per cent of Boomers), and being treated unfairly in the workplace due to a mental illness (15 per cent of millennials vs 12 per cent of GenXers vs 12 per cent of Boomers). But just because more people are ready to speak up about these incidents now, doesn’t mean they are new issues.
What does this mean for the Canadian workforce?
According to Baynton, “the fact the latest generation to enter the workforce reports the higher levels of psychological stress should be a major flag for senior leaders concerned about employee retention and productivity. Engaging these workers in a discussion about what supports them to do their best work can be a great starting point to remove barriers to reaching their full potential and sustained well-being.”
Hopefully, discussions and more mental health initiatives in the workplace will make a difference for employees in Halton and beyond.