Millennials are experiencing ‘deaths of despair’ which are deaths related to drugs, alcohol and suicide. In 2017, 36,000 ‘deaths of despair’claimed the lives of millennials aged 23 to 38 with drug overdose being the greatest cause.
This was cited in a new report by two public health groups: Trust for America’s Health and Well Being Trust and brought to public attention by Jamie Ducharme a writer for TIMEmagazine.
The report used the most recent data from the CDC for 2019. According to Ducharme’s research, over the last ten years, ‘deaths of despair’have increased with the most damage coming from the spiraling of opioid use – a 108% increase.
The reports cited that during this ten year period there was an increase in death by alcohol by 69% and death by suicide by 35%.
The report also revealed the underlying reasons for this increase in ‘deaths of despair’to the number of stress related problems that millennials face, such as high student loan debt, expensive healthcare, childcare and housing. These four areas of expense, according to the report, fall into the ‘Great American Affordability Crisis’ putting millennials behind financially and is at the root of their distress. Millennials are more likely to resort to risk-taking behaviors like drugs and alcohol use and suicide attempts.
With the rise of all these costs for millennials and the combination of lack of social support in spite of ‘social media’ connections, depression is on the rise. According to a Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance report, there has been a 47% rise in major depression diagnosis since 2017. But due to the high cost of healthcare, many don’t seek the help they need which would only add to their financial burdens of an endless cycle of debt. This causes great mental burdens which if not shared with others can lead to all sort of problems.
According to a report in the Clinical Psychology Review, mental health disorders are three times higher in people with unsecured debt and so, often lead to suicide. The report shows that those who have contemplated suicide usually are eight times more likely to do so.
According to Ducharme’s research, millennials are less likely to have a good physical social network – social media is not enough. They are the generation with the least social support as they are also marrying later. Plus they are far less connected to political groups or religious communities.