Millennials and Depression: Four Signs for Parents to Watch out for!

As a parent of a millennial, I have been concerned about my son’s future and how it affects his mental well-being. Watching him steer into adult life with student loan debt, unrealistic expectations with employment and establishing his own identity, these can be challenging times that could make him vulnerable to depression.

The millennial generation which includes ages 18-34, grew-up in an electronics-filled and socially networked world where social media may be exerting its influence. There is a lot of pressure to “fit-in” to social communities and planning for the future looks bleak!

Another factor for depression could be that some millennials were raised by “helicopter” parents. Moms & Dads were very encouraging to their kids dreams and being over-involved with day-to-day decisions could prevent them from learning how to deal with disappointments on their own.

Here are some common signs and symptoms for parents to watch out for in support of their child’s well-being:

1) Low Energy: People with depression feel hopeless and fatigued. A diet based on whole, healthy foods will increase energy levels. Getting fresh air daily like taking a walk will boost your energy levels too. Stay hydrated.

2) Lack of Enjoyment: Losing interest in activities that your child at one time were interested in. It could be as simple as reading books or going to movies.

3) Isolation: Withdrawing from family and friends. Spending more time alone can be a big factor with depression as people just don’t feel like socializing. Social connections are incredibly important for maintaining good health so spend time with people who care about you and you care about them.

4) Numbing behaviors: Drinking, drugs and watching too much TV are examples of coping skills when things get too tough to deal with emotions. Do things that make you happy. If you own an animal take them for a walk or have coffee with a friend whom you trust and talk too. Or find a therapist to help you work through the negative thoughts and feelings. Connecting with your emotions can help in feeling more grounded.

It can be hard for a parent to accept that their child is going through a difficult time. To accept that there is a problem could help your child feel validated and not so alone. By denying that signs could allow things to progress and get worse. Reach out and show your child that they’re important and they have your support in receiving help. It could make all the difference.

Photo credit: Images by Angela Franklin and Simon Maage