Millennials, Mental Health, and the Modern Labor Market
Western medicine has become much better at detecting mental illness. Decades ago, far too many people went undiagnosed. Their problems are much more likely to be recognized today. More than any other age group, Millennials are being diagnosed with depression or anxiety disorders.
○ Rates of Depression Diagnosis
○ 19% of Millennials
○ 14% of Generation Xers
○ 12% of Baby Boomers
○ 11% of aged 67 and older
Why are so many of us sick? The theories making the rounds can sound quite silly. It’s all the helicopter parenting. There’s an epidemic of narcissism. More plausibly, declining mental health is linked to high levels of stress. A 2015 study from the American Psychological Association (APA) showed 39% of Millennials reporting increased stress in their lives the past year. Another 52% say stress keeps them awake at night.
Developing and maintaining positive mental health is key to thriving in today’s labour market. For many, work is a central part of living a happy and fulfilling life. But for others, negative experiences of work lead to the development or exacerbation of mental health problems.
Consider the extraordinary changes reforming our economy, society and environment. If our working lives are characterised by flexibility and change, what does this mean for our mental health? How should we, and our employers, prepare for the future?
Work, health and wellbeing are intrinsically linked to each other. Just as ways in which we work have evolved in recent years, so too have our health needs. Long-term, chronic conditions are affecting more people, while acute conditions have become less common. A growing number of people experience common mental health conditions including anxiety and depression, or report a generally poor sense of wellbeing.
The evidence indicates a significant number of Millennials will need to manage mental health conditions throughout their working lives, navigating an increasingly flexible and competitive labour market. This will require enhanced understanding of what options are available for improved mental health.
Some people place a lot of faith in western medications. It is comforting to hear: “This medication helps you sleep.” “This medication will calm you.” They may feel that if drugs aren’t prescribed, they aren’t getting adequate care. Others may be afraid western medicines are addictive. They rely upon exercise, meditation and healthy diet. The truth is probably right up the middle: body and brain are both essentially chemically driven systems, and a wide variety of measures can bring them back to balance.
Pharmacogenetics: A Good Investment?
What if science can predict how you will respond to medications? Worrying about unpleasant side effects and/or drug ineffectiveness can become a thing of the past!
Good-bye guess-work. Hello personalized medicine.
Medical treatments are designed for an “average patient.” One-size-fits-all-treatments are successful for some patients, but not others. Pharmacogenetics (PGx) is a form of personalized medicine with huge potential to improve health care outcomes throughout a population.
A DNA profile indicating the patient’s genetic variation can guide prescribers to select drugs that minimize harmful side effects and ensure successful outcomes. Some personal considerations – such as a patient’s age, lifestyle, and existing comorbidities – are already taken into account when a prescriber selects a new drug. Health care providers can now consider the patient’s genetic profile as well, a crucial clinical factor for predicting reactions to specific drugs.
Pillcheck, a leading PGx service, (www.league.com) helps predict which medications are most safe and effective for a specific individual. It indicates personalized dosage and prescription recommendations, leading to more effective medication therapy.
Best of all, since your DNA doesn’t change, Pillcheck offers life time value: you do the test once, and results can be referenced again and again.
Currently, the US FDA recommends genetic testing for over 200 medications to improve drug safety. Inability to metabolize a drug can result in toxic effects, adversely impacting well-being. Statistics show that 1-in-4 primary care patients in North America are prescribed at least one medication that will cause an adverse drug reaction.
Using PGx profiling increases the likelihood you’ll receive the benefits expected from a given medication.