Millennials have been found to have the highest stress levels of any generation, but barriers like a lack of health insurance are preventing them from getting treatment.
Aishia Correll, 27, grew up in a world where therapy was not an option. So, when the Philadelphia woman began struggling with her mental health, she turned to painting instead.
But now, Correll tells the Bristol Herald Courier, she is a health care strategist and is working to increase access and affordability for mental health care, especially for millennials, women of color and the LGBTQ community.
Correll’s areas of focus are in need. According to a 2018 survey by the American Psychological Association, millennials and Generation Z are at a higher likelihood of rating their mental health as fair or poor in comparison to other generations. In the same survey, millennials were found to have the highest stress levels of all generations.
However, the survey also revealed that millennials and other young adults were more likely to seek out professional mental health care than older generations. In fact, over one-third of millennials and Generation Z said they were receiving treatment or therapy from a mental health professional.
The Bristol Herald Courier also reports that since 2014, millennials have continually reported the highest stress levels. In Philadelphia specifically, one barrier to treatment is not having health insurance. According to a Pew report from 2014, 22% of those ages 18-34 in Philadelphia had no health insurance.
Jennifer Schwartz, inaugural director of Drexel University’s Psychological Services Center and an associate professor in the department of psychology, tells the Bristol Herald Courier that without insurance, therapy can cost anywhere from $75 to $200 for one session.
At Drexel, Schwartz states, patients are offered a sliding scale price that is based on income, and services are provided by doctoral students.
“We have a large demand for our services, bigger than we could possibly provide,” Schwartz said. “We do get people who call us and are upset by the lack of services that they’ve been able to locate and access.”
According to executive director of the Black Women’s Health Alliance, Brenda Shelton-Dunston, this issue is even bigger for millennial women of color.
“There is a void in mental-health availability and access to mental-health prevention and support services for women of color in Philadelphia,” she told the Herald Courier.
According to Correll, one solution could be services focused on millennials and located in the right areas.
In the meantime, she is continuing to turn to art as a means of therapy and is hoping to provide a space for others to do the same through her creation of a “healing” art gallery in North Philadelphia.
“I didn’t see that my family had a place like that,” she said. “I want to make sure I have a place like that.”