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Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Do you think the 15 - 25 year-olds today are more depressed than when you were that age? If so, why do you think this is?

Asked by Espiritus_Corvus (17223points) March 20th, 2016

Stats seem to bear this out. Why do you think this is happening? 15 – 25 are more than welcome to give their input here.

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23 Answers

stanleybmanly's avatar

I think they have a lot more to be depressed about. But it’s difficult to determine if this is an objective view or the bias common to codgers regarding “the good old days”. It seems to me that between the ages of 15 & 25 I had more opportunities for lucrative jobs than I could shake a stick at. In fact such jobs were so plentiful, that a decision to obtain a college education could be arguably be regarded as a waste of time and money. The big concern for people my age was NEVER about job security or a future of underemployment. It was the draft board.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Let me illustrate the difference between then and now. For 3 of my college years I had a job that qualified me to buy a solid house in a good neighborhood. I thought nothing about quitting that job, simply to move to San Francisco, and did so with no prospects, realizing that I would be just fine. And I was. I don’t believe for a second, that it would be possible to pull such a feat off today, though to my astonishment, there are still people trying it.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I don’t think so. I think it’s more common for parents, teachers and friends to see it and get it properly diagnosed now than it was 25 years ago. The stigma is not as bad as it was then too.

LostInParadise's avatar

I came of age in the 60’s and the general atmosphere was one of optimism. We baby boomers were out to conquer the world. We would champion civil rights and end the war in Vietnam. I knew of some who, like myself, were third generation Americans who were the first in their family to go to college.

The economy is certainly part of the current problem, but it seems the whole national spirit has changed.

Coloma's avatar

My daughter is 28 and while not depressed and she landed a really good job last year with an international medical company she feels the “American Dream” no longer exists and it doesn’t. I think, if anything, the state of affairs and what it takes to merely survive these days without much hope for anything, even remotely resembling retirement is a pretty good reason to be depressed for a lot of younger people. hell, a lot of people of all ages.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Coloma. I agree. And the sight of many of their parents struggling must be a sobering realization. Today’s kids are either confronted with the spectacle of their parents struggling to help them toward a questionable future, or the depressing ambition of making it in the world in time to pull their parents from the hole.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I agree too, gen x is the first that will not do at least as well as their parents did. For millenials it is even worse.

marinelife's avatar

Part of it is technology, which means their young bodies do not get the exercise they need. Part of it is heavier parental expectations and the loads of student debt they have to take on to get through college. Part of it is better diagnosis and more treatment options.

ibstubro's avatar

I think there is a lot more negativity, in general.

For better or for worse, society used to suppress a lot of the negativity. When I was 15 I didn’t even know what clinical depression was. The 24 hr news cycle has inundates us all with gloom, despair and agony.

BTW, I’m adding that comment to the above posts.
I agree that there’s a lot more to be depressed about, there is better diagnosis and we could almost all use a little more exercise and fresh air.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@ibstubro Working with a new crop of millenials gives me hope. They’re upbeat, realistic and laid back unlike… my generation.

ibstubro's avatar

But they seem awfully entitled, @ARE_you_kidding_me.
There may be a lot of disillusionment in their future.

But, seriously, I’m glad your first hand experience give you hope. That’s encouraging.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@ibstubro The older ones are ~30 but the younger ones ~25 and younger are not. My generation felt entitled (late Gen X)

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t think so. That time of life is sucky for most people in many ways. It’s very stressful especially when you graduate from high school, and then college too. Trying to get a job, separating from your parents,(adolescence) figuring out where to live, it’s difficult.

Plus, it can be a very lonely time, especially high school, and loneliness is a big cause of depression. Lonely and feeling like you don’t fit in

disquisitive's avatar

This chronic depression that people constantly discuss is a symptom of coddling I think. When I was between 15 and 25 I never heard a single person talking about being depressed. We were talking about doing, going, learning, school, dating, cheerleading, sports, competitions, college, jobs, marriage kids…................................not self pity and depression. I’ve never been around that until I started talking to people online. Really, there’s a life to live out there; turn off the machine and go live it.

jerv's avatar

Well, @stanleybmanly pretty much summed up my opinion. However, I think the reasons are so obvious that, to my mind, those who cannot see why are pretty much saying, ”2016 is no different from 1976!”, totally failing to realize that tuitions are over 100 times what they were and rents are 3–50 times higher while wages have barely doubled.

When you see your parents struggling just to fall behind more slowly than they would without fighting is hard enough, but when you add being called a lazy fucking loser and having your misfortune mocked by people stuck 3–6 decades in the past doesn’t help. It kind of gets to you after a while.

The choices are to get depressed or to get angry, and most people are not prepared for violent revolution so they implode instead of explode.

@disquisitive Are you paying for it? Many struggle hard enough for rent that even eating on a regular basis is a luxury. It sounds to me like you’re one of those people who thinks 2016 is 1976, which makes you part of the problem.

disquisitive's avatar

@jerv I would be part of the problem if I had raised my own children to believe the world owes them a living. I didn’t. No depression. They worked hard and have great lives. We aren’t special, we aren’t born to privilege, we are just hard working Americans who take opportunities when they come along. When you sit around whining about depression you don’t see the opportunities, you just see others passing you as they live their lives. Then bitterness thrives.

jerv's avatar

@disquisitive Yes, bitterness does thrive when you work your ass off and get nothing to show for it while someone lazier gets ahead through cronyism. Then again, I’d wager that you are more privileged than you know. You probably never got wiped out by something like a car accident or major illness either, or else you’d know that life can throw some pretty nasty curveballs that can bring even the greatest of us to our knees.

When you spend a year or so trying to get any job you can but most of the places you go won’t even take your application because they already got two or three thousand to sort through in the hour or two since the posting went up. Learn a trade? I have two, and it’s not like CNC machinists earn poverty wages. Go to college? My GI bill wouldn’t have covered even half the in-state tuition required to finish my degree, and most people don’t even have that.

So if you want to know why bitterness thrives, take a look in the mirror; people who cannot understand that toast doesn’t always fall butter-side up heaping derision on those who don’t realize how lucky they are cause a lot of bitterness. If it were as easy as you claim, if hard work were all it took any more, then rest assured that the world would be far different than it is.

But it’s easier to call people lazy than to acknowledge that the world as you know it no longer exists, and it’s blatantly obvious that you went the easy route on that one.

longgone's avatar

I’m not depressed.

I do agree that depression is probably less taboo. Can’t recognize (and address) your depression if you don’t know what it is.

Pandora's avatar

Way too many reasons. 1 Spoiled or deprived of a stable home 2.Bored 3.Lack of social skills because of games and entertainment and phones. 4. Lack of jobs for educated young people 5.Expectations are either too high or two low. In the past people simply wanted to be able to work and were happy with being employed. Now people want the job of their dreams and for the cash to come in quickly with little effort or hard work.
When my daughter got into a funk after college because she couldn’t find work she retreated into games. My mom said kick her but and get her to take the first job that came along.

I did and she worked and it helped to build her confidence back and she stopped being depressed but it wasn’t her dream job. Then they closed down and she went back to being depressed again. We fought and I forced her this time to apply for jobs she felt were out of her reach. She did and got a job she could be proud of and did well and then got offered another job that was even better. Today she is doing well emotionally as well as financially.

jerv's avatar

@Pandora Just remember, there is a difference between “in a funk” and actually depressed. Kicking someone who is just “in a funk” may work out well, but trying that with someone who is truly depressed rarely does and may make things worse. True, some of today’s youth are a bit too sensitive, but trivializing the issue by lumping the genuinely troubled in with the lazy and spoiled is, at best, dangerously ignorant considering that it can lead to people dying.

I’m glad things worked out for your daughter, but not all people are the same, nor are all circumstances, so be careful about painting with too broad a brush when the stakes are as high as life or death.

OlianderClub's avatar

Millennial here

Yes I would say this generation is more depressed. We are also more spoiled.

I think advancement is technology is good, but I feel it’s hurting our relationships more.

Just my opinion.

Pandora's avatar

@jerv, I see I may not have been clear in my statement. I’m not talking about clinically depressed. Thank you for pointing that out. I’m talking about the usual down in the dumps you may have seen with teens when they were in high school that has extended up to 25 years of age. When I say kick her in the rear, I mean give it to the straight with no pampering and push them to go to work.

I think too much time sitting around wallowing can lead to clinical depression. The second time I think my daughter was on her way there and her dad kept pampering her and it only made it worse. She wasn’t sleeping, lost her appetite and was getting angry a lot. She wasn’t herself. Some times I think too much time to think can sometimes increase fear make a person lose confidence to the point where they don’t know what to do.

It’s like when I was afraid of swimming. The more I stood around in fear of drowning the greater my fear grew. Then one day I decided I was going to learn even if it killed me. Well now I can swim just great.

But I am referring to mild depression. Not clinical.

jerv's avatar

@Pandora Just making sure. Many people do not make the distinction.

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