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50% of millennials have left a job for mental health reasons, a new study shows — and it speaks to some of the biggest problems plaguing the entire generation

Business Insider Australia logo Business Insider Australia 8/10/2019 Hillary Hoffower

a person sitting at a table using a laptop computer: Half of millennials have left their job due to mental health reasons. Half of millennials have left their job due to mental health reasons. A special message from Microsoft News Australia: Unknown to some, 3 million Australians are living with anxiety or depression. We are dedicated to ending the stigma and helping sufferers continue to get the support they need to survive this daily battle. We've partnered with the giving platform Benevity to raise funds for Beyond Blue who provide information and support to help Australians achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live. You can support Beyond Blue by donating here or visit our Mental wellbeing matters section for more information on healthy minds.

Millennials are bringing mental health to the forefront in the workplace.

Half of millennials and 75% of Gen Z have left a job due to mental health reasons, according to a study conducted by Mind Share Partners, SAP, and Qualtrics published in Harvard Business Review. The study, which looked at mental health challenges and stigmas in the US workplace, polled 1,500 respondents ages 16 and older working full-time.

That's significantly higher than the overall percentage of respondents who have left a job for mental health reasons - 20%, according to the study. This indicates a "generational shift in awareness," wrote the authors of the report, Kelly Greenwood, Vivek Bapat, and Mike Maughan.

That shift is no surprise, considering that millennials have also become known as "the therapy generation." They're cognisant about their mental health and helping to destigmatize therapy, Peggy Drexler wrote in an essay for The Wall Street Journal.

Millennials, she said, see therapy as a form of self-improvement - and they also suffer from a desire to be perfect, leading them to seek help when they feel they haven't met their expectations.

But their inclination towards therapy also highlights some of the biggest problems plaguing the generation.

Depression and "deaths of despair" are becoming more common among millennials

Depression is on the rise among millennials - there's been a 47% increase in major depression diagnoses since 2013, according to a Blue Cross Blue Shield report. And a follow-up Blue Cross Blue Shield study found that millennials are less healthy than Gen Xers were at their age, and more likely to be less healthy as they age.

More millennials are also dying "deaths of despair" - deaths related to drugs, alcohol, and suicide, reported Jamie Ducharme for TIME, citing a report by public-health groups Trust for America's Health and Well Being Trust. While these deaths have increased across all ages in the past 10 years, they have increased the most among younger Americans, reported Ducharme.

Pictures: Foods that help combat stress, anxiety, and depression

They claimed the lives of 36,000 American millennials in 2017 alone, according to the report. Drug overdoses are the most common cause of death.

There are a few reasons behind the uptick, one of which is that young adults are more inclined to engage in risk-taking behaviours. However, the report also identified other structural factors at play - namely the many financial problems millennials are facing: student loan debt, healthcare, childcare, and an expensive housing market.

These four costs are part of The Great American Affordability Crisis plaguing millennials that's putting them financially behind.

Burnout is also a problem

Cases of burnout have also been increasing at an alarming rate over recent years, reported Business Insider's Ivan De Luce. The World Health Organisation recently classified burnout as a syndrome, medically legitmising the condition for the first time.

It's a growing problem in today's workplace because of trends like rising workloads, limited staff and resources, and long hours - particularly for millennials, who consider themselves the "burnout generation."

In fact, 86% per cent of overall respondents in the Mind Share Partners, SAP, and Qualtrics study said a company's culture should support mental health. "Mental health is becoming the next frontier of diversity and inclusion, and employees want their companies to address it," wrote the authors.

They added: "It is not surprising then that providing employees with the support they need improves not only engagement but also recruitment and retention, whereas doing nothing reinforces an outdated and damaging stigma."

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