The latest research from the National Institute of Mental Health is alarming: Over 46 million American adults are suffering some form of anxiety disorder.
With Millennials and Gen-Zs, money and work-related issues are the most significant stress factors.
In a study published in the Harvard Business Review, half of Millennials (23-38 years old) and, even more astonishingly, 75 percent of Gen-Zs (18-22 years old) have left jobs due mental stress and breakdowns.
One reason given for the increased levels of work-related anxiety disorders among younger generations than Baby Boomers is a “generational shift in awareness” of mental health issues and more willingness to admit to them.
As an example, use of college counseling centers increased by about 35 percent since 2009.
According to Dr. Jean Tweng’s research in an American Psychological Association report, “The percentage of young Americans experiencing certain types of mental health disorders has risen significantly over the past decade, with no corresponding increase in older adults.”
She continued, “More U.S. adolescents and young adults in the late 2010s, versus the mid-2000s, experienced serious psychological distress, major depression, or suicidal thoughts.”
The percentage of people in the U.S. dealing with suicidal thoughts increased 47 percent from 2008 to 2017.
Hi-Tech Heroin
Research from the American Psychological Association, however, also concludes that two main causes of increased levels of mental distress among younger people are time spent on digital media and lack of sleep.
Indeed, a clear link between time on a computer screen at night and poor sleep has been firmly established.
Electronic devices radiate a blue light that has been shown to affect levels of melatonin, a hormone needed for healthy, deep sleep.
According to data from the National Sleep Foundation, the artificial, blue light can adversely affect the body’s natural internal clock.  Sleep deprivation often leads to clinical depression.
In addition to the blue light effect, the overall sped-up world of the hi-tech computer age and the increasingly unpredictable job market are creating a huge negative impact on both mental health and the economy.
The Cost of High Anxiety
Increased stress and anxiety levels at work are costing the U.S. economy up to $300 billion a year.  It’s important to note that not just workers who dislike their jobs are suffering.  A Yale University study showed that one in five U.S. workers reported burnout level breakdowns even though they felt their work was stimulating and worthwhile.
The cost of high anxiety is costing the American economy up to $190 billion of additional healthcare support every year according to the Harvard Business Review.  And the consequences merge from mental to physical.
According to the American Institute of Stress, the U.S. has the “dubious distinction of having the highest workplace crime rate of any industrialized nation.” An average of 20 workers are murdered each week, making homicide the second highest cause of workplace deaths.
And about one million American workers every year are victims of violent crimes while working.
TREND FORECAST: As wages continue to stagnate, debt levels deepen, real cost of living rises, and new generations increase their addiction to hi-tech digital screens, the mental health crisis will continue to spiral out of control.

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