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Millennials and mental health: Are we burning out?

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There is a public health crisis developing in Europe and we’re not really acknowledging it: our generation’s mental health is deteriorating and affecting our lives in more and more domains.

 

How can we make it easier for young people to seek help?

How can we make effective programmes that are both broad and targeted, given that there are significant differences in experience of mental health depending on gender, ethnic status and LGBTI identity?

 

Find more resources from the European Parliament Research Service (EPRS).

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Dimitar Bozov
08 August 2019

I believe the problem with youth mental health is not one big problem but 2 smaller ones. Firstly accessing good mental health professionals is problematic because people either have to go through a lot of waiting if they are from a European country with public health care or have to pay relatively large sums if they are from a European country with more private health care. In both cases, we need to make mental health care more accessible and have better trained health care professionals but this is not the main issue. The main issue is that there is still a prevalent stigma around mental health in most of the countries in the eu. Mental health awareness is necessary and people need to be educated about different medication and alternative mental health treatments. How can this be achieved? I believe that any sort of govermental education camping might actually be more counter-productive. The best way of shaping public opinion is through the media. This means movies, videos songs, documentaries ect. about mental health. Only if the EU had more developed film industry.

Anssi Eboreime
28 January 2020

First let us consider the background: mental health problems affect around 1 in every 6 Europeans and cost EU around €600bn. On average, mental illness costs EU countries more than 4% of GDP

This means that the mental health crisis is a public health and a economic crisis.

There are many issues that affect mental health, and according to findings published by the American Psychological Association mental health issues have increased significantly in young adults over last decade while corrsponding figures have not spiked in a similar fashion in older generations.
This means that somehow the environment in which younger generations (namely millenials and Gen Z) are growing up in causes higer rates of mental illness.

This has caused a massive rise in the amount of people in need of care, a demand that the healthcare sector has been woefully unprepared for.

Currently the most pressing issues relating to mental healthcare are the following:
1) Access to care
2) Preventative action
3) destigmatization and education.

Access to care is affected by many issues, one being the lack of mental health professionals, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and others - in 2018 Fine Gael TD Jim Daly from Ireland said “2,000 positions [for psychiatrists] have been approved and funded but the people with the necessary skillset are not out there”. )

According to the EU COMPASS FOR ACTION ON MENTAL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING scientific paper "EU COMPASS FOR ACTION ON MENTAL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH CARE IN EUROPE" there is a need and a concensus that more mental healthcare needs to be incorporated into primary care. Also there is a great need for community based services.

Lastly one I have noticed as an onlooker and as a healthcare professional is that many national guidlines cut treatment short, leaving people on the road to recovery on their own and they often relapse.

Some ideas:
Shortly I wish to present some ideas:
1 - Separating psychiatric training from regular medical school, in the same fashion as dentistry. Psychiatry is such a specialised discipline that it would be faster, more efficient and more sensible to train psychiatrists towards their speciality from the beginning.

This way we get more specialised workers faster. Instead of having them first go through 6 years of medical school and then a comparable amount of time in specialisation we could train them in that 6 years to be fully fledged psychiatrists.

2 - Treatment guidlines must be extended, relapse patients make up the bulk of cases in treatment.

3 - More pscyhology students should be directed towards clinical specialities or similar.

4 - A cross Europe recognised vocational training as a pscyhiatric care person must be created so that we can provide support staff to ease the acute need for some people. Often just a sympathetic ear can help a long way.

5 - Sociology mus become an integral part of the mental healthcare process and Clinical Sociologists must get a more prominent role in European prmary care in general due to their very important role in preventing new mental illness cases.

Melanie
12 October 2019

I think we urgently need to shift the conversation around mental health to create an open, healthy and accepting awareness and support for mental and emotional well-being. We can do that by sharing people's stories with their mental health issues and how they got better. We also need to communicate on the possible consequences when we don't take care of our well-being. I wish the European Union would support NPOs/NGOs more which help with these issues.
Also, we need to make treatment more accessible. Talking about young people, they probably don't have all the means that it take to afford professional help. In that sense, I would love more campaigning on a european level, to create awareness and educate citizens on the importance of mental health. WE WOULD ALL BENEFIT FROM IT. It could also be a big chance for the European Union to take a leading role. Moreover, the #3 SDG is "Good Health and Well-Being". So let's act on it!

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