Millennials have higher levels of stress than Gen Xers

Two students studying in the oasis wellness center
CSUN art faculty Fabia Panjarian instructs art major Richere Barbeau, 21, in the Contemplation Garden of the Oasis Wellness Center, Wednesday, Jan. 27. Panjarian is teaching a series of classes designed to relieve stress and test anxiety for CSUN students. Photo credit: Max Zeronian

Millennials, often referred to as the “entitled generation” or “lazy and overdramatic,” have been reported to suffer from high levels of stress, according to the American Psychological Association, but are less able to manage it compared to previous generations.

According to the 2015 study from the American Psychological Association, a group of surveyed Millennials ranging from ages 18-33, reported their stress levels on a scale from 1 to 10 as a 5.5 level, which is above the 4.9 average stress level reported by the Gen Xers. The study also revealed that many Millennials say the feel “isolated or lonely due to stress.”

Higher living costs, changing family dynamics and exposure to the digital world with unstable schedules can be overwhelming reasons this generation suffers from stressful lifestyles, according to The West Midland Family Center.

According to Angela Faissal, manager of the Oasis Wellness Center on campus; stress, anxiety, and sleep deprivation are common issues she has seen at CSUN.

“Millennials experience pressure (financial, academic, social, etc.) that other generations didn’t experience,” Faissal said. “They stay up all night worrying and work multiple jobs to keep up with bills, so we provide the space they need to relax and catch their breath.”

The Oasis Well Center offers a variety of services ranging from massage therapy, acupuncture, and nutrition counseling in order to help students better handle and reduce their stress and anxiety, Faissal said.

Free weekly workshops are also offered to students ranging from aromatherapy and guided meditation to serenity yoga.

Once a month, the center also offers workshops such as the “Combating Blues and Building Positivity”, “First Monday Mindfulness”, and “Stress and Sleep Management.” These are all in an effort to “help students find different and diverse avenues to relieve stress,” Faissal said.

“This generation is constantly connected to the world through phones and that can also cause unnecessary stress. Not to mention the traffic they may experience commuting here” Faissal said. “I also know these past few weeks with the emergency notifications we have been getting has put my staff on heightened alert. Yet another unnecessary stressor these students are experiencing.”

For those who might not find permanent relief through the serenity at the Oasis Wellness Center, professional psychological help is also available on campus.

CSUN’S University Counseling Services (UCS) offers free short-term counseling services to currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students, according to Julie Pearce, a Licensed Psychologist and Acting Director & Coordinator of Training University Counseling Services.

A team of psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and marriage and family therapists are available at the center. Their services include individual counseling, crisis intervention, workshops, and psychiatric consultation.

“Students seek services at UCS for a wide variety of presenting concerns,” Pearce said. “The top concerns, however, are anxiety and stress.”

In order to start, a student must first meet with a counselor for an “initial intake appointment”. From there, they can enroll in a workshop series titled the RIO (Recognition, Insight, and Openness) series. After completion, students are able to evaluate their progress together with their counselor in order to continue a healthy state of mind.

Urgent care assistance is available to those who might be experiencing extreme anxiety, panic, suicidal thoughts or odd or intrusive thoughts, according to their website.

An anonymous, and confidential online mental health screening is also available for students in order to quickly check their mental health.

The Anxiety and Mood Disorders Clinic in Monterey Hall helps the community by treating anxiety and mood disorders, according to its website. Part of CSUN’s Department of Psychology, therapeutic services are offered that treat generalized anxiety, major depression, panic disorders and specific phobias, according to their website.

The services offered at the clinic are not free but are about a third of what private practices charge, according to their website.

To view the Oasis Wellness Center’s schedule, you can visit their website http://www.csun.edu/oasis/programs. To learn about the services offered at the University Counseling Services visit their website http://www.csun.edu/counseling. To contact their Urgent Care services after regular business hours, please call (818) 677-2366 and select option “3.”

The UCS will also be having an Open House on Wednesday, October 19, and Thursday, October 20, from 10 am – 1 pm for students, faculty, and staff.