We are told New Zealand's first online generation is struggling to cope in a world of insecure work prospects and unattainable housing.
One young adult in every five, according to a recent report, has sought mental health treatment in the past year. The Competent Learner study followed a group of young people born in Wellington in 1988-89 and found 19 per cent "thought about or attempted suicide" in the year before they were last interviewed in 2014-15, aged 26.
Twenty-two per cent, or one in five, sought help for a mental health problem in the past year.
It is tempting, especially for those who have endured the rise of terrorism or having their jobs taken by recessions, to answer such pleas for help with a proffered can of 'harden-up'.
It wasn't all doom and gloom. The study found most were in paid work. Sixty per cent were in relationships, and 21 per cent of the women had a child. Friendships were important, and many of their closest friends were from school.
Most thought of New Zealand society as tolerant, but poverty levels were considered too high, and income differences too large for many. Most were optimistic about their own futures — an optimism they didn't share however, for the world or for the state of the environment.
Responding to the study, Auckland psychologist Dr Joe Guse said it's clear the "millennial" generation is living under intense pressure from social media, technological disruption, unaffordable housing and climate change.
Most respondents were happy with their lives but a fifth had some health problems - and the 22 per cent seeking treatment for mental health was up from 14 per cent at age 20. The study authors considered this perhaps reflected greater self-awareness or social acceptance of mental health issues.
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It does seem that every new generation finds itself in a pressured situation. The so-called Silent Generation existed in times of global war. The Baby Boomers were the product of a post war euphoria which darkly dissolved as the Cold War set in with heightening threats of nuclear extinction. Their children have lived in times of September 11, Global Financial Crisis and onerous student debt.
It is tempting, especially for those who have endured such arduous times as the rise of terrorism and having their jobs taken by recessions, to answer such pleas for help with a proffered can of "harden-up". To do so however, would seem to miss the point.
Worry has been a constant for every generation. What apparently sets this current batch apart is their willingness to seek help.
Competent Learners report author Cathy Wylie concludes the group of 26-year-olds studies are "largely optimistic for themselves - if not for the world around them". Most are sustained by friendships and family, and many have intimate partners. Though having children was very important to only a minority, a fifth of the women are already mothers.
She suggests one more cause of this generation's anxiety. A third said they had experienced hassling or bullying at least once in the past year. New Zealand school students report higher rates of bullying at school than most other OECD countries, and it seems bullying continues in the adult worlds of work, recreation, and relationships.
Every parent hopes their children will grow into a better world. History shows this can't be guaranteed. It is reassuring however to learn the current maturing generation is seeking out, and presumably heeding, counsel to deal with the corrosive affects of their troubled minds - whatever the causes.