The workplace can surely take its toll on us all, particularly in today’s fast-paced, technologically-driven environment where demands move at inhuman speed. Work stress has long been a cause of depression and anxiety, but according to a recent study the Millennial generation is citing the mental health condition more than any group in history. Among their ranks, it appears young women are most at risk.
A recent MarketWatch article cites that between the years 2005-2014, “the number of depressed teens jumped by more than half a million, three-fourths of which were teenage girls according to a recent study in the journal, Pediatrics.” The article goes on to state that the troubles carry over into the workplace, with ” millennial women far more likely than their male counterparts to experience burn out and depression.”
This health concern complicates matters for our young working population, particularly women. Although, as the article states, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 makes it illegal to fire someone with a health condition, the stigma that exists around the conditions makes it hard to nearly impossible for individuals to report the issues so they can get the health they need. A young woman was interviewed for the article under the pseudonym, “Hannah,” and she reported that it took her nearly two years to report crippling depression and related exhaustion on the job, drinking excessive amounts of coffee to attempt to cover her condition.
“There is so much stigma around mental illness it feels like it’s not a valid excuse to not be able to work,” she states in the article. “It’s funny to think about it but I was out for five full days with no problem because I had strep throat, but when I take one day for depression it feels like I’m cheating the system.”
One in five individuals in the world will suffer from some type of mental health condition, upwards of 41 million Americans alone. And yet, the stigma around mental health remains, and advances in education, acceptance, and adequate policy still lag. We will work fastidiously to bring these matters to the public attention, to ensure that cases like Hannah’s and all those living with a mental health diagnosis can be free from stigma and able to receive the care they so rightly deserve.