At the risk of sounding old, I’m intrigued by the millennial generation – they have been called “Generation Me”; been proclaimed more upbeat than earlier generations; and labeled “Trophy Kids,” worrywarts and technology whiz kids, among other things. There’s been so much written and talked about with this group, how could you not become interested?
I began consuming a lot about millennials — how they will redefine our society, what makes them tick, or how they differ from other generations. So when our sister agencies, Allidura Consumer and GSW, developed “Millennial Mindset: The Worried Well,” a report based off of an adult millennial and health study conducted in partnership with Harris Poll, I was all about understanding how they consume health information and what values they put on health.
Here are some highlights I learned:
- It really IS about who you know. Authenticity is king with this group. According to the report, sixty percent trust high profile health experts like Dr. Oz, but 84 percent trust information from people they know personally.
- #YOLO The survey also revealed that millennials put an extraordinary value on happiness and health, yet only 48 percent describe themselves as happy and only 42 percent call themselves healthy. Based on age alone, they are likely the healthiest generation currently, but it is interesting to see how they view themselves. This provides great insight into the tension they are feeling.
- The struggle is real. Millennials experience more stress than gen Xers and Boomers, and are more likely to describe themselves as anxious. On a positive note, this means that this generation could really break down barriers around mental health and engender a healthy dialogue around these issues. Something mental health advocates have been attempting to do for decades.
- Juice cleanses, Paleo, GF – yes, please! Millennials – true to their wanderlust spirit – see a real connection between mind and body and are up for any new diet or cleanse to help stave off health consequences. It’s not so much about the fad, but about finding new ways to tackle old problems and challenge the traditional norms.
I sought out some real-live millennials to get their opinion of the report. After speaking with nearly 10 millennials, they all agreed that this report does accurately reflect how their generation thinks about their health. They see and feel a deep connection to between mind and body. They think their generation takes more risks, but also feels anxious at the same time. They attribute this anxiety to having access to too much information and a deep rooted distrust in authority. As one millennial put it: “With the rise of social media and the Internet, we have become skeptical, but also too confident in our own ability to get to the bottom of an issue, which can create a larger issue.”
These new insights provide a blueprint for us as public relations professionals to have meaningful engagements and dialogue around key health care issues with an important and influential audience.