Matthew Cuddeback, LCSW

The ideas that millennials are too disengaged or unwilling to put in hard work have unfortunately been taken as fact for years, regardless of the fact that nobody can agree on exactly what a millennial is or that those who make these arguments are ignoring how the world is so completely different now than it was 20, 30, 40 years ago. We live in a world in which social media looms over all aspects of our lives, people shop online and date online, and most decisions are being made by people who may just be completely out of touch with what is important to you. All of these things immediately cast doubt on the plausibility of such an argument. There is also another area that has gone under-explored, and that is that millennials are actually hustlers, hustlers in the sense that they are people who are working to make their lives better and always looking for opportunity.

In the current environment in which there is no such thing as stability, there is for many, no such thing as safety from violence and oppression on a systemic and individual level, and there’s real concern for the longevity of our planet as we know it, it’s easy to see why someone might want to go their own way and see if there are new or different ways to do things. In my work I have met many young people who have trudged a career path that was anything but obvious or straight or simple, but have identified one avenue to a goal and jumped from one to the next, not out of laziness or directionless-ness as many portray, but out of the search for opportunities. Below are some ideas for young people, about taking care of your emotional and mental health in this current social environment.

Tips on Mental Health Care for Millennials:

  • There is No Life Guidebook: The truth is you grew up and are creating your life at a time that is profoundly complex. Some think that you just need to get good grades, get a degree, find a job and a 401k and you will be married and buy a house in no time. Aside from the fact this may not be what you want, it also is not as realistic or easy as it was when your parents were doing it. Don’t compare your story to those who came before you, and don’t let it bother you when someone else does.
  • Passion Matters: Find what interests you and jump into it, see if you can figure out a way to turn it into your career. If not, figure out a career that lets your pursue your passion in other ways.
  • You are More In-Tune with Your Emotions Than Any Generation Before You: Millennials are more engaged in social issues and more aware of their emotional and mental health than any other group before them. This is an incredible asset that will help you throughout your life for years down the road.
  • Balance, Balance, Balance: As is the case with anything, balance is the key to emotional well being, don’t get so caught up in things that they drag you down. On the same note, don’t become so disconnected you aren’t passionate about anything. Self-care is incredibly important to get this balance right.

Don’t listen to what people say about “millennials,” the fact is that people have been trying to codify and box you in so that they can understand you, but in so doing they have completely misunderstood what it is to grow up with social media, online everything, and grave concerns about the future of the economy and the planet at large. Taking a step back and taking stock of what matters to you is a key to finding the right path, even if it is one people don’t understand. If you are struggling with pressures you, someone else, or society at large are putting on you come talk to one of our counselors at Symmetry Counseling to discuss more ways to work through and cope with it.