There is a gross misperception that when an individual enters young adulthood (between the ages of 18 to 29) they transition into a state of bliss, fun and contentment. On the contrary, it can be extremely difficult to adjust when transitioning from adolescence into adulthood. For many in that age group it is a time of major adjustment, self-discovery, and uncertainty about life. Studies show that mental health problems, social stress and substance abuse issues are prevalent within that age group. There are many factors that may trigger depression among young adults, five of which are mentioned below:
1. Loss of Significant Friendships
Oftentimes not much thought is given to the tremendous value of friendships in the life of a young adult. Transition to college seldom results in separation between friends as elementary and middle school disperse to various colleges and universities. Additionally, after graduating from college the young adult may return to native town and may be losing friends gained during undergraduate studies. Finding authentic, valuable, selfless friendships can be challenging. This separation can be extremely difficult as, with the loss of support comes feelings of loneliness, sometimes abandonment and depression.
2. Increased Responsibilities
The demands of transitioning into adulthood can be quite overwhelming. This task can be daunting especially for those who were sheltered child by ‘helicopter parents.’ In addition to having to do laundry, prepare meals and pay bills, a young adult also has to take on the task of parenting him or herself, find employment and may have to support him or herself financially. This stage of life is also where those who are in entry-level jobs struggle to adjust to structure and accountability of the position. Some may get married or become a parent which can further complicate the individual’s ability to adjust to major life changes. Increased stress is especially challenging to those who are ill-equipped with healthy coping strategies and independent living skills.
3. Living Their Parents Dream
Parents and well-wishers often say their goodbyes to college students with a complimentary directive to ‘ace all classes, stay out of trouble and make us proud.’ Many young adults who are first-generation college students say that there’s even greater pressure placed on to succeed so they can earn a substantial income to care for the extended family. Such a charge to achieve places an enormous burden on the individual. The insurmountable pressure to live up to the expectations and traditions imposed loved ones has contributed to much psychological mayhem, substance use and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety in young adults.
4. Uncertainty About the Future
Do you remember the first time someone asked you about your professional aspiration? It is common practice for adults to ask children what they would like to be. If that child responded with uncertainty, he or she would receive a judgmental disapproving stare and advice about the ideal professional path that should be taken. Very rarely are children told that it is ok to be uncertain about the future. Although well intended, this practice injects fear of failure and confusion into the minds of so many young adults who are made to feel that uncertainty about their professional future is a character flaw.
5. Fear of Failure
It is customary to condition individuals to fear failure. By age 18 one will have witnessed and possibly experienced dire consequences for failure. Many of us were never taught to embrace failure and use it as an opportunity to examine underlying causes for the failure, re-strategize and keep trying until we succeed. High expectations, uncertainty about the future, and self-doubt can inhibit a young adult’s ability to maximize his or her potential. The fear of failure also contributes to self-doubt, anxiety, depression, and perfectionism.
Young Adults who struggle with Depression can seek the following remedies to help them cope with life’s stressors:
- Individual Therapy to address irrational thoughts about self and develop self-assertion skills
- Life Coach for assistance to develop power skills
- Psychiatric Care
- Access a Support Group
- Set Personal Boundaries for Family and significant others who impose expectations