I’m willing to put money on the fact that many millennials grew up with the stereotype that seeing a therapist meant you were some sort of menace to society.
Negative stigma surrounding therapy used to be incredibly widespread. Until today. Millennials have not only managed to destigmatise conversations around mental health, but they’re actively seeking out relationships with partners who are, or previously have been, in therapy.
What’s responsible for this shift in millennial relationships?
The digital generation
Being a millennial is no walk in the park. 50% of millennials and Gen Zs report feeling anxious or stressed the majority of the time. Having lived through wars, recessions, and a global pandemic by the time their thirties rolled around, it’s no wonder this generation is seeking support in the form of therapy.
While millennials may not have access to the housing market, what they do have is knowledge available at their fingertips. As the first generation to grow up with the internet, millennials have the power to access information about whatever they want, whenever they want.
For all its flaws, social media has allowed millennials to have open discussions about things like mental health and therapy, and turn them from taboo into trendy.
For older generations, discussing mental illness was still very much off-limits and their way of dealing with things was to break out the old stiff upper lip and get on with it. Millennials, however, are not having it. With information on important subjects like mental health instantly available online, millennials are armed with the knowledge that therapy is great and therapy is for everyone.
Millennial therapy: a modern aphrodisiac
Not only has the negative stigma surrounding therapy largely melted away among the younger generation, but being in therapy is something millennials are seeking out among potential partners.
92% of people surveyed by the dating app Pure said they prefer to date people who’ve been to therapy. And rightly so. After all, what’s hotter than emotional intelligence?
Older generations may often sneer at millennial’s lack of commitment and stability, but they could learn a thing or two from a generation that prioritises self-growth and awareness.
How to talk about therapy in millennial relationships
Millennials have made a great difference when it comes to destigmatising therapy. With any luck, future generations will become more understanding, more self-aware, and more able to process trauma in a healthy way.
So, how can we ensure that our conversations about mental health and therapy are healthy and productive within our millennial relationships?
Here are some tips:
- Talk about therapy openly: Break down barriers by openly discussing your experiences with therapy. Keep reinforcing the idea that going to therapy is both cool and courageous.
- Mind your language: Avoid using stigmatising language like “crazy” or “unhinged” as it can be triggering for those struggling with mental illness. Choose words that don’t reinforce negative stereotypes.
- Inform with patience: When faced with stereotypes about therapy, engage in discussions with patience and understanding. Focus on informing rather than judging.