Key findings include:
Mind, the UK’s leading mental health charity, has today released research which suggests that Millennials (25 to 34 year olds) are twice as likely as people aged 65 and over to have no one to spend Christmas with. The general population poll¹ of 2,037 people also found that almost half of Millennials worry about their finances at Christmas, compared to only one in five older people. Overall, Millennials were consistently among the age groups most likely to respond negatively to the festive period, while older people were consistently among those least likely.
The weight of expectation around personal achievement seemed to have a particularly negative impact on 25 to 34 year olds, with a third dwelling on things they failed to achieve in the year, compared to one in ten older people. It is possible that social media has a role to play in setting these expectations, with 18 to 34 year olds most likely to compare their Christmases on social media and most likely to feel pressure to present their Christmas on social media.
Most worryingly is the fact that 25 to 34 year olds are most likely of all age groups to keep their worries to themselves, with one in ten saying they wouldn’t want to ask for help over the festive period for fear of what other people would think of them. Not seeking support can lead to more serious problems developing and it is particularly concerning that this age group is the most likely to consider taking their own lives directly because of the festive period (one in twelve people).
Mind is urging people to donate to their Christmas Appeal, so they can be there for everyone who needs them this Christmas. Visit mind.org.uk/ourchristmas for more information.
Caitlin Maggs, 24, called the Mind Infoline last December when she felt lost and at breaking point, said:
“I find Christmas a particularly anxious time. Every year, there is extra pressure to be happy, to have love surround you - and for me, it feels the loneliest because of this. The media create this ‘perfect’ vision of a family Christmas - and it's an ideal that has hung over me and made me very miserable. My depression and anxiety always gets worse in December.
“Last Christmas I turned to Mind. Feeling lost and at breaking point, I found Mind's Infoline on their website and reached out. I needed to speak to someone who could just listen without judgement and give advice. The lady who answered my call was incredibly friendly and informative. She was able to relate instantly and empathise. We talked through what help I could get and by the end of the conversation I had already begun to feel better. Before I reached out to Mind, I'd felt as though I was trapped in a dark well. Mind threw me a rope and I caught hold of it. I can't thank Mind enough for their support.”
Stephen Buckley, Head of Information for Mind, said:
“For most people Christmas is something to look forward to, a time for celebration and relaxation. Our research suggests, however, that for Millennials the festive period can actually be more stressful than other times of the year, with financial concerns and the pressure of social media all adding to a sense of worry during the festive period. Regardless of age, Christmas can be particularly difficult for the one in four people who experience a mental health problem, especially if they feel unable to ask for help. While Mind can’t make Christmas perfect, we can ensure that everyone has the support they need, whether through our Infoline or online resources such as our guides for coping with stress and our Elefriends online peer support community. We can’t provide these without your support, so please donate to our Christmas Appeal at mind.org.uk/ourchristmas to help us be there for someone who needs us this Christmas.”
¹ Polling was conducted by Populus who interviewed 2,037 GB adults 18+ online between 9 and 10 November 2016.
Visit mind.org.uk/ourchristmas to find out how Mind can support you this Christmas, including free information on coping with stress or mental health problems, the Mind infoline and how to join Mind’s online peer support community Elefriends (Elefriends.org.uk).
Public Mental Health