What is a millennial? This generation consists of individuals between the ages of 18 and 33. These days, millennials are typically seen as upbeat individuals who are confident and technologically savvy.

Unfortunately, that perception doesn’t hold up to the reality of what this generation is really experiencing.

Going through the data, few contest that millennials are the most depressed and stressed generation out there today. USA Today recently featured research done by Harris Interactive that presents this startling news. According to their research, 19% of millennials acknowledged that they have been diagnosed with some kind of depression or anxiety disorder.

The findings also tell us that almost 40% of millenials have indicated that their stress is actually rising. As a millennial myself, this is tough to swallow and makes me wonder what’s going on here.

You may have guessed that this is common for any generation that has been fresh out of college. Finding work and building a foundation is indeed stressful, especially as more millennials are having kids earlier in their lives. While there is truth to that assumption, more data sheds light on what’s causing these anxiety disorders: unemployment.

According to a recent Gallup poll, full-time work for millennials is sharply declining. Even with college degrees, more young Americans are finding it harder than ever to hold a full-time job, which is definitely stressful for anyone trying to pay back student loans and other debt.

These factors alone make it clear why so many millennials are struggling to maintain a positive outlook on their lives, which means we need to do more to offer professional help to this age group. Colleges are on the front lines of this, of course, as campus counselors are as ubiquitous as ever. When it comes to older millennials experiencing some of their first real challenges, however, more awareness to affordable counseling services needs to be generated.

One of the best ways to generate any kind of awareness is to start the uncomfortable conversation. Now that we’ve done that, the next step is to keep talking about it and encourage all millennials to seek out tangible solutions to what they’re facing.

Jacobe, Dennis (July 26, 2013). In U.S., Fewer Young Adults Holding Full-Time Jobs in 2013. Retrieved from http://www.gallup.com/poll/163727/fewer-young-adults-holding-full-time-jobs-2013.aspx

Jayson, Sharon (Feb. 7, 2013). Who’s feeling stressed? Young adults, new survey shows. Retrieved from  http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/02/06/stress-psychology-millennials-depression/1878295/