mental health and anthropology

Mental Health: Millennials in a Modern Society

What Exactly Is Mental Health Today?

Mental health today is measured by stressing over unnecessary clothing account debt or waiting to hear back from that interview you went for. It is important life decisions that lead us to our daily stress. The way we choose to handle that stress is the real challenge in life. The health of individuals in today’s society has become much more delicate due to societal external factors becoming more influential.

Our environment, whether it is at home, work or simply just a friend’s house, will impact the way we think. The people around us have a huge effect on what we do and how we choose to do it.Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being . It assesses how we handle stress, our relationship with other people and the type of healthy choices we make. Most people are aware that mental health is an important aspect that needs to be taken well care of in order to operate in other areas of life.

Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood, but this article claims that millennials are the most pressured to have achieved a certain goal at a certain age which impacts their mental health.

a visual image of mental health
Credits: Blogspot

Millenials

Millenials are a fascinating group of individuals who believe in living in the moment. There is no specific/set age range for millennials, but according to the U. S. Census Bureau, millennials are those people born between 1982 and 2000 ( Millennials Age Range, 2022). This means that the millennials’ age range in 2022 is between 40 and 22 years old ( Millennials Age Range, 2022). On average.

They are considered to be very carefree but caring at the same time. Let me explain this. They do whatever they want, therefore rebelling against the norms of society and catering to their heart’s desires. They have an ambitious mindset and a self-loving attitude which allows them to emphasise the importance of their own life on a constant basis. However, this does not mean they don’t care about the opinion of others. In fact, they care a lot. Expressing who you are, means having a stress-free life and doing what makes you happy, but there are consequences to these actions and that’s what some people don’t understand.

millenials of today
Credits: Mental Floss

 

selfie time
Credits: The Daily Dot

The Pressure Of Social Media

This carefree attitude that they portray is not only self-intentional. Most of the time, it’s meant to target a certain audience. For example: you are out with your fiance and post a picture of a gourmet dinner, but what lies behind that post? It may be because you are trying to compete with your friend or give off the idea that you are living a good life and you want everyone to know about it. On the other hand, it could be as simple as you enjoy posting pictures.

However, social media are guilty of laying the foundation for certain ‘posting’ expectations, such as perfect lighting, picture quality and certain food trends. Social media influences individuals to post perfection. The problem lies in how the force of societal expectations is constantly arising, which puts pressure on having a ” picture perfect selfie” or lifestyle all the time. The sad part is that people know what they see on the internet is not always real (Photoshop) yet they will still feel the need to look and act a certain way.

The Social Effect

It’s nothing new that social media create problems with one’s mental health, but the problem lies in how they accumulate with every generation. I blame technology! Although we can not live without it, we need to find better ways to live with it. There are people in this generation that can not handle social media, which lowers their self-esteem. They don’t mind the internet stealing time, they would sit for hours and scroll through instagram or Twitter not realizing that doing that actually contributes to the deterioration of millennials’mindsets. What they see is what they envision for themselves, but in the wrong way by degrading one’s self. That leads to developing an insecure mindset about certain areas in one’s life which are not healthy.

They are aware of the fact that they need to be more open-minded about the effects of social media, but choose not to address it because it has become a habit.

social media generation
Credits: Lateet

Using It To Their Avantage

Although not everyone falls under this trap. Some users use social media to their advantage by doing digital marketing, for example. Another favorite would be the gym. The idea behind watching influencers shoot fitness videos is to motivate others. Therefore, some individuals actually grasp that idea and use it to better themselves because it makes them feel good, not because they feel forced. The goal is to form a healthy mindset when reading posts by contributing and receiving positive outcomes from what we see.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. The pressure of social media might be real, but in addition to others, it is motivation to move away from that type of mindset and embrace one’s authentic self instead. A study shows that  Millennials tend to use social media to voice their opinions. They spend an average of 2 hours and 39 minutes engaging with social media every day. LinkedIn is particularly used by Millennials, so 38% of Millennials see LinkedIn as a good way to develop their professional life (Lateet, 2018). This platform contributes to the community of job seekers as well, because people would not only post their thoughts and achievements but also job opportunities on this platform. It is considered to be very helpful.

social media positivity
Credits: Wired bugs

‘Life’ Itself

Life can be extremely hectic at times. We normalize working 9-5 jobs, coming home, cooking and then it’s time for bed again. This type of routine has become a norm. Therefore, we often fail to see a problem at hand, because our excuse is ‘we are too busy‘ when, in actual fact, we are simply just ignoring the reality at stake. It’s problematic because it rips us from doing anything else, because tiredness overtakes us. We become too tired to think, so we just keep doing what we are supposed to instead of working out healthier alternatives.

Then there are those that are self-employed, which comes with twice the amount of stress. Having your own business is not easy – Speaking from experience. It’s the thrill of being your own boss that keeps you going. You work at your own pace, in your own space. It is genuinely a good feeling. It gives you a sense of power which creates a healthy mindset that you want to keep growing for a successful future. The danger lies in how you need to keep yourself in tact. Especially when it comes to assessing your financing, which creates subsequent stress if business is not doing well. This can be even more problematic when you are the breadwinner in the house, because then your business is forced to stay strong for the good of your loved ones.

Most people prefer being on their own, but in reality it’s times like this when you actually need a supportive partner. Personally, my heart is grateful to have someone that supports me through everything I go through. Regardless of how rough life becomes, he is there. This support is motivation to keep going. Just hearing that ‘You’re doing good baby, keep going.’ can save one from having a dreadful day. Support is crucial from both sides.

We are so busy with our own lives that we tend to forget about the people around us. We need to ‘check up on our happy friends’, because studies show that more than 17 million South Africans are suffering from depression,  substance abuse, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia (Sunday Times, 2014). On top of that, 1/3 of South Africans suffer from some form of mental illness.  The reality is that people are suffering in silence, because they don’t want to bother others with their personal problems. They prefer to keep quiet and deal with it on their own. It’s better that way.

depression as an millenial
Credits: Mental Health depression Treatments

 

depression in woman
Credits: Synapse HPC

Global Health

Global health refers to health on a planetary scale. It aims to highlight and improve people’s health world wide. The term ‘global health’ is seen as being self-explanatory, because everyone should know what it entails. People have this general idea that global health has to do with planetary issues of diseases.

Global health is a big deal in Seattle. Kristen Eddings exclaims ‘global health is the movement of our generation’. This means that millennials are making a positive contribution to society’s health sector. Kristen Eddings and Lacey price took part in a health movement, specifically, looking at pop-up campaigns or to raise awareness of diseases such as tuberculosis (Paulson, 2011). Local research organizations then put out work to produce better treatments or preventive vaccines, such as the Infectious Disease Research Institute (Paulson, 2011). Every step counts. Here we see how millennials are changing the health care industry.

In all honesty, it is a tough topic to deal with because it means you need to make a powerful statement in order to actually contribute to the movement.

Global health conference
Credits: Konner

Millenials At 27

On a more recent note, studies show that Millennials’ health is already declining at age 27 (The Doctors, 2020). This age of 27 is quite early to be honest. One should not stress about health this early in life. Although health problems arise at any age, it all depends on how well you have been looking after yourself. At this age, you’re not obligated to have it all figured out, but you should atleast have an idea of where you are heading in life.

You should not be angry at yourself if you have not met the normal requirements at this age. There is no rush. We live life according to our own satisfaction and that is happiness.

millenials today
Credits: Chicago School of Professional Photography

Helene In Between

Helene, who has her own blog called ” Helene In between ” had an hilarious teenage girl reaction to an article called: ” 27 things you should say goodbye to at the age of 27 ”   Okay, so a bit of insight into this article: She speaks about life at 27 and what is best to leave behind. She mentioned a few things that viewers disagreed with because they feel that there are some things you never grow out of.

She commented: “For instance, she says to stop listening to boy bands. I’m not going to lie, I sometimes listen to a little One Direction. Don’t ever tell me what my musical tastes should be, ever. I can shop at Forever 21 and H&M until I’m 50 years old. If the clothes still look good, thank you. These parties are fun as hell.” (Helene In Between, 2014). 

She feels that age should not define your interests.

happiness
Credits: Helene In Between

Anthropology & Mental Health

It’s been discovered that not many people are aware of what anthropology is or entails. Apparently, the word sounds very intimidating, when, in actual fact, it’s nothing but. Anthropology is the scientific study of humanity. An anthropologist tries to understand everything related to humans. It is all around us – the focus derives from a cultural and biological aspect. Cultural – they look at the cultural variations amongst people, for example. Biological – seeks to understand how humans adapt to different environments, what causes disease and early death, and how humans evolved from other animals. Therefore, they study humans (living and dead), other primates such as monkeys and apes, and human ancestors (fossils).  They listen without judgement in order to create an understanding.

Understanding The Relationship

Anthropology and mental health meet in order to understand humans on a deeper level. Understanding the mental health of people means taking a look at their suffering and healing in order to assess what’s happening. The health care system does not exactly cater to the lower class people, therefore they would turn in the direction of traditional healing and medicine instead. They look to their own people for support rather than reaching out and struggling in this modern society. Our parents’ and grandparents’inform us about these ridiculous homemade remedies to use which we end up carrying on throughout generations. These are the kind of helpful insights that we carry out through exploring cultural diversity.

We need to understand that aspects such as poverty additionally play a huge role in controlling one’s mental health. Poverty among adults can cause poor mental health through social stresses, stigma and trauma (Knifton and Inglis, 2020). Equally, mental health problems can lead to impoverishment through loss of employment or underemployment, or fragmentation of social relationships. It makes ‘living a healthy life’ difficult to keep up with.

anthropology and mental health
Credits: Live Science

Concluding thoughts

Addressing one’s mental health is not always easy, especially in this day and age where we are pressurized by social media and other aspects of life. We find ways to cope but never really find solutions to deal with it. At the end of the day, mental health is something that should be cherished because it builds the foundation for what our next move or future plans are.

Millennials, we will survive! regardless

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