Dr. Srini Pillay, Best-Selling Author, Examines the Plight of Millennials

Saturday, March 23, 2019 General News
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"Many of my clients who fall into the same age group as millennials are lost, overwhelmed, confused about their careers, and lonelier than ever." - Dr. Srini Pillay

BOSTON, March 22, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Dr. Srini Pillay, a best-selling author,

neuroscientist, tech entrepreneur and an assistant professor at Harvard University, has spent a large chunk of his career subverting ideas on creativity and the processes behind human thinking. His recent book on Amazon, "Tinker Dabble Doodle Try," has been a hit since its original release in 2017. Now, the acclaimed doctor has some revealing and worrying thoughts on the current millennial condition.

"Many of my clients who fall into the same age group as millennials are lost, overwhelmed, confused about their careers, and lonelier than ever," explains Pillay, "when I mention this to colleagues in other fields, they often say that's the problem with people in this age-group. I believe there's something more serious going on. They feel lost, and the world around them is moving on with or without them. That's why they want to metaphorically jump off the train, even though they'd be better off seeking help."

Mental health problems of millennials: According to the American Psychological Association, 12% of millennials have an officially diagnosed anxiety disorder—which is nearly double the percentage of baby boomers. And other sources have found that anywhere from 30–60 percent of millennials are generally anxious. They are also prone to perfectionism and are experiencing higher levels of depression too. A 2018 study demonstrated that millennials have higher rates of binge drinking and substance abuse associated with the global financial crisis.

One major result of this mental health burden: SUICIDE. For people who fall into this age group, suicide is the second leading cause of death—more than cancer, homicide, diabetes, pneumonia or heart disease. And between 2000–2016, the suicide rate of the US working population increased by 34 percent.

Psychiatrists do not have access to the majority of people in these work situations. The worst part? 24 percent of millennials think that most people with a mental health condition can get well on their own without professional help.

Why suicide? In these days of rushed and diagnostic psychiatry, the most people understand about suicide is that it might have been impulsive, or due to depression, anxiety, mood swings or drugs. Yet, it has been recognized for a long time that death signifies many different things to the young. Sometimes, a deeper examination helps.

"When people kill themselves, they are usually experiencing rage, hopelessness, despair, and/or guilt," continues Pillay, "and for different people, death may signify reunion, rebirth, retaliatory abandonment, revenge, and self-punishment or atonement. These are all wishful fantasies that become exaggerated as frustration mounts. It's important to nip these in the bud."

An important question remains. Why are people in denial? Dr. Pillay believes it's because suicide and mental illness come with a stigma. That's why they're hard to talk about. Both the person suffering and the person observing the suffering may ignore this. A recent study found that between 30-40 percent of respondents considered suicide as a punitive, selfish, offensive, or reckless act; and 20–30 percent of people saw it as a sign of weakness or a thoughtless, irresponsible, cowardly, senseless, or attention-seeking act. Also, intergenerational tensions may make millennials isolate themselves from others, or feel isolated. It's important to be inclusive of all ages at all levels of power in an organization.

It's important to seek help if feeling any of these symptoms. "First, it's possible that wanting to kill yourself signifies a reversible chemical imbalance. And it may even be due to medications that you are taking," elaborates Pillay, "Remember that there is plenty of help out there for you such as employee assistance programs, suicide hotlines, hospital emergency rooms, your primary care physician, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers or registered nurses. Even if the first few interventions don't work, you're not alone. Millions of people like you are suffering too. There is social support out there."

Prevention is better than cure. Online resources for depression, anxiety and substance abuse prevention or early interventions may help. Employee Assistance Programs can also help. And Human Resource leaders can institute screening programs or peer check-ins where appropriate.

If you are acutely suicidal, go to your local emergency room. If you're wondering about this, and can wait, a primary care physician or psychiatrist are good places to start, since they can rule out medical illnesses. Then, they can advise you about the available therapies, and you can choose a treater based on this.

Meanwhile, organizational leaders can notice the plight and frustrations of the millennials in their business, and address them privately when they do. They can reduce work overload, but allow millennials to function at their level of qualification. They can build frequent breaks into the day and make this part of their culture, or create an employee assistance program.

"Millennial suicide is reaching epidemic proportions," concludes Pillay, "rather than bickering online, being prejudiced within our own age groups, succumbing to stigma, and being obsessed with work at the expense of all else, let's work together to develop a loving, caring culture that can take care of one another, be critical in civil ways if we want to be, but not frighten people away from the help they could get by just reaching out. It's not about pretending to care. It's about caring because you can."

Dr. Pillay is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist with a clinical practice, a former nationally funded brain-imaging researcher, a Leadership Development expert and a Certified Master Executive Coach. He trained in the specialty of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, where he graduated as a top award winner in the United States, garnering 13 rewards. Following this, he continued an active clinical practice, and completed 17 years of nationally funded research in brain-imaging. On account of his corporate clientele with stress and anxiety, he became a certified master coach and was an early pioneer in neurocoaching. As of 2018, no neurocoach worldwide had completed as much in-depth psychological work as Dr. Pillay.


SOURCE Dr. Srini Pillay

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