They're no snowflakes: Older generations could learn a lot from millennials
Psychologists say that millennials are just better at admitting to their feelings
The “snowflake generation” of young people who lack resilience does not exist; they are just better at admitting to their feelings, mental health experts have claimed.
In recent years, millennials have been criticised for their over-sensitivity to confrontation and unwillingness to consider controversial or opposing views.
Some universities have even introduced “safe spaces” and “cry closets”, where students can retreat to get away from what has been dubbed “micro-aggression”.But speaking at a briefing ahead of the British Association for Psychopharmacology summer meeting, experts said that young people are no more emotionally brittle than older generations; they are simply “more likely to talk about anxieties and worries”.Asked whether the term was “fundamentally wrong”, Professor Matthew Broome, director of the Institute for Mental Health at the University of Birmingham, said: “Probably.
“We have a young person’s advisory group who research with us and they will choose to say things about themselves, such as ‘I have a short attention span’ and ‘I have lots of anxiety’, but I'm not sure whether it’s true or different.
“I think they are resilient and have as much to give and are as tough-minded as any other generation, personally.”Dr Rachel Upthegrove, reader in psychiatry and youth mental health, consultant psychiatrist, of the University of Birmingham, said: “The effects of this awareness-raising and destigmatisation of mental health disorders (are apparent) in this generation, who don’t see the same amount of need to hide things and to be very quiet about personal experience as my generation.“They are much more likely to talk about anxieties and worries, which is generally a good thing if people are developing disorders and there is an intervention.
“Generally, my feeling is that it’s an after-effect of the reduction in stigma for this generation.”
But the panel said far more needed to be done to address the mental health problems of adolescents and young people. One in 10 suffer a mental health issue, but only one in four receive treatment.
Although targets have been set to bring that figure down to one in three, experts said that still was not good enough.Dr Upthegrove added: “I don’t think in any other branch of medicine would you expect that to be acceptable, that you intervene for one in three people with coronary heart disease or early diabetes.“You wouldn’t countenance it, so no, it is not at all ambitious enough.”
Research published by the University of Birmingham this month claimed an extra £1.77-billion is needed in the UK to cope with the demand on mental health services for children and young people.
An additional 23,800 mental health workers would also be required to tackle the current pressures on provision for those aged 25 and under, it added.
Claire Murdoch, national director of mental health at NHS England, said: “The widely agreed improvement goals for young people’s mental health for the next few years were set by patients groups, psychiatrists and the NHS in the Mental Health Forward View.
“Achieving them will represent a major step forward, but is by no means the end of the journey, which is why the NHS long-term plan will set out further gains for the decade ahead.”
– © The Daily Telegraph