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Growing up in the information age, millennials have witnessed the development of the Internet which has revolutionized modern society by creating a global system for networking and communication. Because of this, millennials are accustomed to accessing the latest news, research, and their peers at the touch of their fingertips. They have had the opportunity to grow up in an age where information about mental health is more readily available and accepted.

For those of us who grew up sometime between 1950-1970, it’s a bit more complicated. Our parents weren’t talking to us about symptoms of depression or about the importance of taking care of our mental health. We were expected to take care of ourselves and although there’s a lot more information that we have access to now, it’s not easy to go against what we were taught. If you’re questioning whether or not you should seek help for one of the following reasons, it might be time to reconsider:

  • I’m worried but I don’t know how to get help: Getting help is much easier than it used to be. And confidentiality is highly valued by mental health professionals. Start with an anonymous online screening at http://helpyourselfhelpothers.org. When you receive your results you’ll also receive a list of local resources you can reach out to.
  • I just joke about being depressed, I don’t mean anything by it: The truth is, if you’re joking about it there’s probably at least a grain of truth to it. People often use humor as a coping mechanism, which is why some of the funniest and most upbeat comedians we know have talked about their experiences with depression.
  • I’m just upset about this crisis (job loss, divorce, etc.). Once it passes, I’ll be fine: While that may be true, getting extra support through a particularly difficult or painful time can help you feel less alone, less confused, and more understood. If you decide to wait it out, make sure you reach out for help if you don’t feel like you are feeling more like your normal self again.
  • I only said it because I was drunk: Substance use can become a harmful coping mechanism used by those struggling with depression or anxiety to try to numb the pain. The reality is, any negative coping mechanism is making things worse, not better. A mental health professional can help you to look into the triggers for your depression or anxiety and can work with you to develop positive coping mechanisms to utilize in times of need.