Millennials are almost twice as likely to suffer from stress as Baby Boomers, research has revealed.
The Global Benefits Attitudes Study from Willis Towers Watson (WTW), which surveyed 2,824 employees at medium and large private sector companies in the UK, found 61 per cent of Millennials suffer high or above average stress, compared with 33 per cent of Boomers and 50 per cent of Generation X.
Millennials have frequently been labelled the most stressed generation and this is further highlighted by the fact 34 per cent say they’ve suffered from severe stress, anxiety or depression in the last two years. This figure drops to 28 per cent among Generation X workers and 20 per cent among Boomers.
But there are also encouraging signs, as Millennials are significantly more likely to talk about stress or mental health problems, with 48 per cent saying they would seek support from family, friends or co-workers, compared to 32 per cent of Generation X and 21 per cent of Boomers. More than a quarter (27 per cent) of Millennials would seek support from their manager, compared to 18 per cent of Generation X and 6 per cent of Boomers, and 41 per cent would seek external help – for example, from a medical professional – compared to 33 per cent of Generation X and 28 per cent of Boomers. “There has been an encouraging growth in awareness around issues of stress and mental health in the workplace, and an increasing number of employers are taking positive action to address these problems,” said Mike Blake, wellbeing lead for Willis Towers Watson.
“However, the significant variation in stress levels highlights the need for such action, where possible, to be tailored to the requirements of different demographics. Millennials, for example, face a variety of unique pressures – the immediacy and convenience of modern technology makes it harder to escape work pressures and this generation have been shown to strive for perfectionism more than previous ones.
“Since the root causes of stress and mental health issues will differ, so too will the support needs. Millennials are happy to talk about their problems, so may respond well to counselling or therapy, but different people will respond to different stimuli, so a best-practice approach to mental health should cover a wide range of initiatives that might include everything from exercise schemes to treatment from professionals.”
There are further differences in coping strategies, with 64 per cent of Millennials saying they indulge themselves as a way to tackle stress and 54 per cent treating themselves to retail therapy. These figures drop to 53 per cent and 44 per cent respectively among Generation X, and 33 per cent and 35 per cent among Boomers.
The research also revealed a gender divide, with women appearing to struggle more with stress. Almost three-fifths (58 per cent) of all women surveyed claim to suffer from high or above average stress, and 37 per cent say they’ve suffered from severe stress, anxiety or depression in the last two years. The figures for men are 48 per cent and 24 per cent respectively