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Millennials make up a significant portion of today’s workforce. Understanding millennial personalities, lifestyles, and well-being is key for many employers to successfully continue the operations of their organizations, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A recent report published by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association highlights several concerning health trends among millennials that employers will want to be acutely aware of. The issues associated with these trends could be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which adds to the importance of understanding and preparing for the bumpy road of millennial health that lies ahead.

In this post, we’ll provide an overview of two of these key trends:

  1. Rates of behavior health conditions among millennials are increasing.
  2. Millennials with behavioral health conditions are more likely to have a chronic physical condition.

We’ll also briefly talk about what actions employers can take to address these trends in their workforce.

Rates of Behavior Health Conditions Among Millennials Are Increasing

Unfortunately, behavioral health conditions have been rising among millennials. The list below highlights some of the most pertinent conditions and their corresponding increases over the past five years:

  • ADHD – 39% increase
  • Tobacco Use Disorder – 10 % increase
  • Major Depression – 43% increase
  • Substance Use Disorder – 17% increase
  • Alcohol Use Disorder – 5% increase
  • Psychotic Disorders – 26% increase

This data was gathered before the COVID-19 pandemic. As you can imagine, rates of many of these behavioral health conditions are likely to increase even more due to this pandemic. In the report, 92% of millennials said that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their mental health overall.

Also noted within the research are more statistics that show the frightening effects the pandemic has already had on millennials, “Because of the pandemic, almost 60% of millennials have canceled a health-related appointment or procedure. In addition, isolation, stress and economic insecurity attributed to the pandemic have had a major impact on millennials. Almost 10% have lost their job due to the pandemic, 25% have seen a reduction in their work hours, and 23% have had to access savings to pay for their day to day needs.”

Millennials With Behavioral Health Conditions Are More Likely to Have a Chronic Physical Condition

An extension of the issue described in the previous section is that millennials with behavioral health conditions are more likely to have a chronic physical condition. Specifically, millennials with behavioral health conditions are:

  • 1.9 times more likely to experience hypertension
  • 1.7 times more likely to develop high cholesterol
  • 1.9 times more likely to have Crohn’s Disease/Ulcerative Colitis
  • 2.1 times more likely to have Type II Diabetes
  • 2.7 times more likely to have Coronary Artery Disease

Given that nearly one-third of millennials have behavioral health conditions (and rising), employers should anticipate an increased need to address the above physical conditions in the future.

Millennials seem to be aware of these trends as well. When surveyed, 54% of millennials perceive their mental health as good or excellent, compared to 64% of baby boomers. Further, 80% of millennials believe their mental health has an impact on their physical health, compared to 62% of baby boomers. This shows that many millennials are aware of the mental health issues facing their generation as well as the potential physical health issues that follow.

What Can Employers Do?

Many employers will feel discouraged after reading this post. Millennials will face behavioral and physical health challenges in the future, and employers like you want to do your best to help them.

One of the best strategies that is recommended by Launchways is to work with a trusted and experienced benefits broker. Consider the following ways a benefits broker can help you address the trends discussed in this article:

  • Guide you as you negotiate with your health service providers to make sure adequate mental and behavioral health services are available for your employees.
  • Perform an audit of the demographics of your workforce to determine more specifically how it will be affected by these millennial health trends.
  • Implement strategies to incentivize employees to not skip their routine preventative medical services.

Key Takeaways

The topic of this article is very concerning, especially for employers with workforces that are Millennial-dominant.

Key takeaways from this article include:

  • Rates of behavioral health conditions have been rising over the last five years.
  • Individuals with behavioral health conditions are much more likely to experience chronic physical conditions.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has already had negative effects on the health of Millennials, and unfortunately there will almost certainly be more negative effects moving forward.  

Employers should consider working with a trusted benefits broker, like Launchways, to implement strategies to care for the mental and physical health of their Millennial employees.

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