Did you know?
Young adults and parents need assistance
- About 15%, or 4.7 million young people aged 18 to 24 aren’t in school or don’t have a job.
- Out of the 2.2 million young people (aged 25 to 24) living in their parents’ homes, one in four don’t go to work or school
- About one in three young people aged 18 to 34 rely on their parents for financial help
- 61% of parents of young adults aged 18 to 29 say parents are doing too much for their young adult children these days
Needless to say, “adulting” is hard. Suddenly stripped of childhood comforts and support, young adults often grapple with the transition to total independence. The gamut of structural and emotional supports that come from living in their parents’ homes is gone, replaced by the lonely, vast unknown of the outside world. Establishing an autonomous sense of self is difficult, and at times, scary.
Growing up can often be a struggle for many adolescents who view adulthood with apprehension rather than excitement to explore. It’s no wonder many young adults often develop depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse disorders, and have difficulty meeting developmental milestones. The restrictions we experience today as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have made these hardships that much more difficult with fewer opportunities, disrupted daily routines and a lack of in-person interactions. Many are back in their parents’ homes or live in empty apartments, distanced from family and friends entirely.
Here are some of the top issues young adults face today:
- Academics - Transitioning from high school to college or college to graduate school comes with an increased academic rigor that overwhelms many young adults. Jugging a work/life balance and staying on top of school work can become exhausting and life-consuming. Young adults who start to perform poorly may begin to doubt their skills and intelligence, which can perpetuate bad grades and result in lower self-esteem.
- Finding a job - Many young adults who are still in the process of discovering their identities and passions don’t know where to start when it comes to pursuing a career. Even those with a more direct professional path struggle to secure jobs. Research from the end of 2020 indicates that hiring is expected to become more competitive over the next 12 months for 74% of recruiters. To make matters worse, many opportunities require prior experience to apply, which creates further barriers for young adults who are just starting out.
- Friendships - Moving away from family in high school to living in the hyper-social environment of college exposes young adults to a lifestyle where they are not just surrounded by new peers, but are dependent on them for their interpersonal interactions. Alternatively, moving from the hyper-social environment of college to the more quiet, early professional life is a startling wake-up to the reality that life isn’t social all the time. Each of these stages come with struggles about how to find new friends and how to maintain long-distance friendships from past environments.
- Romantic relationships - As young adults grow older, relationships grow more serious. Intensifying beyond the crushes and flings that shaped their teens and early adolescence, young adults form even deeper connections with partners. Some choose to move in together, or even marry, in young adulthood, leaving behind lonely singles still trying to figure themselves out. Whether navigating tricky romantic relationships themselves or simply being surrounded by them, romantic pitfalls become a high source of stress in many young adults’ lives.
- Finances - Young adults hailing from a range of socio-economic backgrounds may be unprepared to make and handle their own money as they enter financial independence. Even if they held jobs as teens and helped out around the house, paying for their essentials brings on a new layer of stress. Added to the struggle of finding and securing a job come the hefty responsibilities of budgeting, saving and planning. Some young adults might find themselves unequipped to handle complex bureaucracies and professional relationships in order to meet responsibilities such as filing taxes for the first time, paying bills, submitting insurance claims and more.
- Substances - Struggling to cope with their responsibilities, influenced by the media and faced with intense pressure to “have fun” with peers, many young adults turn to substances. Alcohol, drug and more recently, e-cigarette use is widespread among young adults. Over a third adults aged 18 to 25 reported binge drinking and two in five used illicit drugs in 2018. As young adults come of legal age, prior barriers to access are removed, and a wider array of opportunities to obtain substances become available.
- Social media - All the typical struggles young adults face are exacerbated by social media, which 90% of young adults used last year. Social media tends to glorify experiences, only highlighting success and hiding failures. This leads to unhealthy comparisons among young adults and can result in feelings of inadequacy and despair. Job hunting, academics, friendships, romance, finances and substances are challenging enough for young adults to navigate without the constant - and often false - reminders that their friends are excelling, while they are struggling.
These common challenges young adults face often prevent them from establishing themselves and thriving as they enter adulthood. Instead, they may develop mental health disorders and poor coping habits that further inhibit their path to success.
CBC Programs such as SAGE I DBT, SAGE II DBT, SAGE II CBT, Encompass, and Social Anxiety groups are specifically designed for young adults. These programs provide assistance to those who struggle to find their path, have difficulty regulating emotions, have multiple problems including substance abuse, are unable to face their fears and life challenges and have difficulties reaching age-appropriate developmental milestones.
Thumbnail photo by Priscilla Du Preez