5 Reasons Why Millennials Are so Depressed

Updated on November 25, 2017
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Poppy Reid is a proofreader for Japan Info and a video game enthusiast. She lives in Tokyo and has two hamsters named Zelda and Hemingway.

It seems that everyone is depressed lately. Young people, in particular, sometimes called "millennials" if they were born between 1980 and the early 2000s, seem to be suffering from some kind of depression or lack of will to live. Millennials are accused of being lazy, unmotivated, and negative about life in general.

Of course, we see way more cases of depression in the 21st century because we, as a society, can recognise and understand mental health issues a lot more. But that can't be the only reason. The rise of depression cases, young people taking medication such as Prozac, and even the spike in dark (but often amusing) depression and suicide memes in the last year alone, indicates there is something more than an increase in diagnosis.


1. We Don't See a Future

People tend to actually be happier in countries where there is room for improvement. People want to know that the future is bright, even when the present isn't as good. This actually makes a lot of sense, as many first-world countries that are said to have it better than everyone else tend to be the countries with all the depressed millennials.

If you know that this is as good as it gets and "it will only go downhill from here", then it's easy to think "what's the point in trying?" After all, if there is nothing good waiting for you, then you are going to be in the same position whether you work hard or not.

The "baby boomer" generation could buy a house, afford to have two or three children, go to university, and all relatively debt-free. These things that were perfectly normal fifty years ago are out of reach for most young people today.


2. The Economic Crash in 2008 Killed a Lot of Dreams

Most people who are young adults now were children or teens when everything went belly-up in 2008. We are at the age where we were told as kids that if we worked hard and followed our passions, we would make it. Now, we are told we are lucky to get a minimum-wage paying job. We are told that dreams are only for those who can afford it.

We still see the theme of "if you want it badly enough, you'll get it" in Hollywood and Disney. Of course, people still reach their goals and have dreams, but it seems much further away than it did ten years ago.

We are bitter that we didn't really get to enjoy "pre-crash" life. Children born in the 1990s were in high school when they were suddenly told to "take any job you can, even if you hate it, and be grateful you're not homeless." The future was suddenly very bleak, and we resent it.

3. We Get Blamed for Everything by the Older Generations

You may or may not have already seen this collage someone made of clippings saying what millennials were killing on Reddit.


Most of the reasons millennials are "killing industries" is down to money. We can't afford a house - that, to many young people now, is something only the rich can afford - we work long hours for a very small amount of pay, and therefore don't have spare cash to have a gym subscription, go out to fancy restaurants, and stimulate the economy by going shopping every weekend.

And yet, people like journalists above think it's appropriate to blame us for everything. If you grow up in a world where you have to go to university and land yourself in thousands of dollars' worth of debt, grab the first job you can and hold onto it even if it crushes your soul and has nothing to do with your degree, and find somewhere to live that you can actually afford even if it sucks, and then being blamed for large businesses crumbling, then who can blame you for becoming depressed?

Everything from social media to politics to climate change is blamed on us. Being told we suck while at the same time being told the future is hopeless, is it any wonder young people are struggling?

Do you think depression is a problem in young people today?

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4. We Crave the Romance of the '90s

If you haven't seen it yet, a post on Tumblr summed up the "sad adult" syndrome of young adults today. The post suggests it's only "'90s kids", but it could easily apply to millennials in general.

The way it's presented is a little crude but it hits the nail on the head.


Maybe, as the post suggested, we feel sad because our past is as bright as our future is bleak. We crave easier, simpler times where we were promised a great job if we followed our dreams, a house, and a family just like our parents got.

5. Fears of the Future for Earth

Millennials aren't only worried about their personal future. As depressing as a bad job and endless debt is, personal dissatisfaction isn't even the worst of it.


We are constantly bombarded with worries of the environment, world wars, dangerous laws, terrorism, natural disasters, and corruption. The internet is a wonderful thing, but it also means we can get breaking news straight away and be aware of all the terrible things happening across the world at once.

Everyone is different, but I'm sure most people would agree that waking up to another mass shooting, terrorist attack, earthquake, or some other disaster puts a bit of a downer on your day.

Of course, we aren't the only generation to suffer worries of wars. I'm not saying we have that worse than the older generation. But it is always there.

I'm not saying there was ever a "golden age" where everyone was happy and life was perfect. What I'm saying is stop blaming us for everything, have a little heart, and try to understand the struggles that young people face. Thankfully, with the growing awareness of these problems and plenty of online and in-person therapy and help, we can help solve these problems and give young adults, many of whom are promising and talented people, some hope.

© 2017 Poppy


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    • poppyr profile image

      Poppy 2 days ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Haha yet you point all this out to them and they deny it :) People back then had problems too, but it's definitely harder now. I've lost all hope in having my own house and a large family. Thanks for commenting, Angel.

    • Angel Guzman profile image

      Angel Guzman 2 days ago from Joliet, Illinois

      As a 32 year old in 2017 I know for a fact things were way better for my dad when he was 32 in 1973. Unions were strong and you could make a living wage with a high school diploma. You could buy a house and a car. Raise a family with one parent at home. Today both parents work because wages aren't enough. Those who grew up after FDR's Presidency had it easy.

    • poppyr profile image

      Poppy 12 days ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Hi, Flourish! Yeah, this is the article that got 10k views on Reddit, which is certainly nothing to be depressed about at all! I'm actually not depressed anymore, I used to suffer from it but it wasn't to do with my age, it was personal reasons. Each generation certainly has its own challenges. Thanks for your feedback!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 12 days ago from USA

      Well Poppy, this apparently went viral given the number of responses you have so far on that poll! That’s nothing to be depressed about eh? Honestly other generations had some of the same concerns. My parents faced a mortgage interest rate of 12% and felt really lucky to get such a sweet deal because some were as high as 17%. Jobs were hard to find when I graduated college (with large student loan debt at 8 1/2%). Each generation has its own set of unique challenges as it enters adulthood. It will work out.

    • poppyr profile image

      Poppy 2 weeks ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Thanks, Pam!

    • Pam Morris profile image

      Pam Morris 2 weeks ago from Atlanta Georgia

      This is a compelling article that needs to be read. I believe many young peoples deals with depression and some have lost their way and it not easy for them to find their way back. When I was their age, I didn't have problems I found myself acting amateur and taking for granted I had time to mess off when I should have been preparing for the future.

    • poppyr profile image

      Poppy 2 weeks ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Thanks for commenting!

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      TumblrQueeen 2 weeks ago

      Wow, this... sums it all up perfectly...