Job insecurity, social networks and machismo: youth anxiety

Mario, a Santanderian from 26 yearsFor the past couple of years, he has combined a job in a phone company's ‘call center’ – which allows him to pay his bills – with his passion that led him to study journalism: doing a sports program on local radio. Since he had to take the job of telephone operator –since he couldn't find a place in the world of communication that would allow him to live on it– feel sorry, failed and wanting to "send it all to hell", as he tells his friends.

The young man is deeply frustrated for not seeing a light at the end of the tunnel that would allow him to work on what he wants. This anxiety is aggravated by constantly comparing her current situation with that of her parents at age, both with stable work and a common life project. And when it seemed that things couldn't get worse, a new stone has appeared on the road from the twenties: the coronavirus crisis. Even though you have kept both jobs, you now see completely his professional aspirations frustrated by the covid-19.

"Young they don't know what their future is going to be. They have lost the guarantee of having one and are adapting to live day to day. ” With these words the psychiatrist Eusebio Megías explains one of the main reasons why the anxiety and stress they have been installed in the generation of digital natives in recent years. Furthermore, the uncertainty of the coronavirus crisis adds yet another element to the equation that exacerbates this distress.

He business model of each historical moment brings a series of pathologies. If in the industrial revolution diseases associated with physical overwork and exposure to toxic materials were the main problem for the health of workers, in the present moment social and labor pathologies have to do with Mental health. It is not surprising that hypnotherapy treatments have increased and that health centers increasingly treat anxiety attacks, according to the 'National Health Survey'.

Research that studies the incidence in young people of pathologies related to anxiety and depression –A field in which there is still much to delve deeper– they indicate increase of this. Aegon's 'II Health and Lifestyle Study' indicates that the 'millennial' generation (between 18 and 29 years old) is the most stressed. Likewise, the monograph 'Health and lifestyles of young people and adolescents', published by the Foundation for Assistance to Drug Addiction (FAD) and of which Megías is co-author, estimates that more than 20% of young people Spanish (from 15 to 29 years old) suffer stress, 21.6% present a depressive symptom picture and a 11% suffer anxiety, panic attacks and different types of social phobias.

The data of this percentage of youth with anxiety shown by the FAD do not indicate that there is a pathology typical of young people, but it does specific reasons that can affect the mental health of all of them: precariousness labor social networks, he fear of living worse than their parents and the violence male chauvinist.

Job insecurity

“In recent years, the horizon of vital expectations of young people has absolutely changed. They are living a situation in which they manifest, for active and passive, much more insecure”, Explains the psychiatrist to El Confidencial. "In the last decade, the insecure situation”, So the pathologies related to anxiety and stress may have increased.

As all the data indicates: employment fell and not even the labor reform served to create more jobs, but it did increase precariousness. “For young people, the present is the only thing that counts. They have an uncertain future until they get used to or find a situation in which they can defend themselves since, for now, feel helpless because of job insecurity and everything that surrounds it ”, he explains. "They know that fundamental elements have changed and especially the labor market ", insists. "Logically they try to react to this situation, but in this process of adaptation to the new circumstances they are going through a moment of tension," says the co-author of the study that the FAD conducts with the Reina Sofía Center on Adolescence and Youth.

Young people today think that they will live worse than their parents, one of the reasons that increases their stress

Directly related to job insecurity, this generation also feels pressured because it is installed in the conception that he will live worse than his parents and "when someone is, rightly or wrongly, thinking this way, it is not surprising that they are anxious," he says. "The panorama of security that the parents of this generation had was a response to a Fordist project of progression and social elevator that 'my children will live better than me,'" he develops. "Not only does the personal expectation that causes insecurity change, so does the phylogenetic pattern"Says the psychiatrist," what has to do with the progress of the species. "

Derived from these situations, the psychiatrist explains that "they are living difficulties for transition processes. In other words, for personal growth and going from adolescents to young people and from young people to adults ”.

This increased stress in young people not only seen in the studios, also in consultations, As it explains Óscar Pérez Cabrero, a psychologist from the Álava Reyes center, who specializes in profiles of this age. "The perception is that there is a greater number of people of these ages who come with cases in which a picture with a component of stress or anxiety is observed, "he points out, while clarifying that this increase may be due to a youth with more mental health problems or to the de-stigmatization that it is occurring towards psychology.

All these stressors related to the world of work come long and have been installed in the generation of digital natives for years. But the covid-19 crisis is exacerbating youth angst, since the world appears uncertain and it seems even more precarious. “For all generations and especially for the youngest, the word par excellence is uncertainty. Right now there is little to anticipate because not even the economists agree on how this crisis will unfold, "says the psychologist.

In this sense, it should be noted that a 52.8% of young people have been frustrated their professional aspirations by covid-19, according to a recent study by UNIR. Furthermore, the report shows that 4 out of 10 young people do not feel sufficiently prepared to improve their working conditions or find a new job due to the coronavirus crisis.

Teleworking: more cons than pros?

Although – in general – young people have not been exposed to a situation of stress or anguish derived from family burdens when carrying out Telecommuting has also affected them negatively.

According to Pérez "Teleworking is exacerbating stress". On the one hand, it points out that many people have been exposed to occupancy overhead, since the schedules are blurred giving the feeling that you have full availability of the employee.

On the other hand, the psychologist points out that not clearly differentiate the spaces work of those of rest or leisure at home, causes stays to be associated with this work stress.

In the same line of this turnaround that has given the way of working, the same has happened with many vacations. "One of the methods to reward yourself After a year of working oneself is the holidays, but this year they are presented as another unknown. This lack of vacations or uncertainty about whether to be able to go is another factor to take into account, "says Pérez.

Social networks: allies or enemies?

The new technologies and social networks increase stress level, according to the 'VII CinfaSalud Study', endorsed by the Spanish Society for the Study of Anxiety and Stress (SEAS). Young people, being more connected, are cannon fodder.

Although they may have more advantages than disadvantages, for the psychiatrist "new technologies involve a series of continuous assaults" "He fear of being disconnected, referring to the continuous need to be involved in social networks, occurs mainly because young people have incorporated the concept that things happen on the internet and if you disconnect you stay isolated. This also generates anxiety ”, develops the psychiatrist.

The fear of being disconnected from the mobile is a stressor. Young people think that things happen on the internet and if you are not in networks you are isolated

Megías highlights as a curiosity that young people are not afraid – leaving aside the cases of bullying – to the invasion of privacy, which increases when displayed on the internet. "The networks have changed the rules of the game, you lose your privacy, but they do not care," he adds in this regard.

For his part, the psychologist adds that these social platforms “have evolved to the point of generate the need to be constantly connected" "The social network par excellence, Instagram, has 'stories' with content that only lasts 24 hours, creating limited availability and making them more hooked on mobile," he exemplifies.

Similarly, Pérez points out about the 'smartphone' –in general– that “people not aware of what having a digital device means in the pocket available 24 hours. That ease of access is a major source of stressors. " "For example, it can be more difficult to disconnect from work because we can receive emails or calls that we end up answering at any time," he says. In this sense, the psychologist adds that "during confinement this situation has multiplied to the nth degree."

Male violence as a stressor

The gender gap that exists in many environments of life, such as work, also occurs in youth mental health, according to the FAD study. "The rate of presence of phenomena of anxiety, personal discomfort, depressive mood or psychosomatic disorders, has a higher incidence in women," analyzes the psychiatrist.

"He climate of gender violence that there is in society is manifested in that women live with fears and feel more fragile than boys, "says the expert, referring not only to direct attacks that they may have suffered individually, but also to the existence of rapes, street harassment or various attacks that, unfortunately, are on everyone's lips.

The psychologist concludes that "anxiety, although it is natural and you have to learn to understand, manage and prevent it, can reach levels that are disabling, which should alarm about the need to intervene." The reports of the World Health Organization show that public health interventions and social programs allow promoting mental health and preventing this type of pathology. Since the origin of the symptoms is known – although there is still much to investigate – work in the line of prevention could be key to alleviate these pathologies in the young.