The age of treating the average worker as a simple disposable cog in an ever-churning system, it seems, is slowly coming to an end with the rise of Millennials and Gen Z’ers. More so than ever before, the stigmatization of mental health treatment is on a steady decline with “…62 percent of Millennials say they’re comfortable discussing their mental health issues, almost twice as many as the 32 percent of Baby Boomers who expressed such ease, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA).” As more young adults acknowledge the importance of their mental health, what does that mean, in regards, to companies having to accommodate to this new workforce?

            According to a study conducted by Mind Share Partners, SAP, and Qualtrics, “About half of Millennials and 75% of Gen Z’ers have left a job because of mental health reasons. Unlike their parents before them, young adults are far more cognizant of their mental stability and are less likely to stay with a company that doesn’t take into consideration the well-being of its employees. In fact, according to a study conducted by Aetna Behavioral Health, mental health expenses jumped by more than 10 percent annually over five years, compared with the annual increase of just 5 percent for all other medical costs. With a new understanding of mental health, companies are seeing the effects on productivity when mental health is ignored. Forbes states, “Mental health and substance abuse cost US businesses between $80 and $100 billion annually. Another study showed that serious mental illness costs America up to $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year. Depression is thought to count for up to 400 million lost work days annually. Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S – that’s 18.5% of the population – experience mental illness each year.”

            “The Therapy Generation” is what they’re being called. A deeper analysis explains why young adults today are more demanding of their employers. With increased international competition, looming student loan debt, stagnant wages, and uncertain future, this generation is suffering the worst mental health crisis of any other generation to date. We’ve been conditioned to believe that the common worker in this country owes everything to their employer. Even sacrificing their convictions and mental health. This is a sacrifice, it seems, Millennials and Gen Z’ers are not willing to make.

  • Brian Hesson (Media Coordinator)