Let's face it: The world is a tough place right now. It's especially challenging to be a young person today — it's pretty difficult to invest in your future when everything seems to be collapsing around you.
1. "Recovery from mental illness isn’t as simple as just 'getting over it.' It’s a process that takes tremendous effort and a substantial amount of time. I’d really like for the older adults in my life to understand that I am not just being dramatic — I’m genuinely struggling mentally, and that isn’t synonymous with weakness."
2. "Not every problem I have is because of my phone. Any time I get upset or complain about something, my parents say, 'Well, if you weren’t on your phone so often...'"
3. "It's not just one thing, it's everything. The world is vastly different from when you were in your 20s and 30s. Everything is more expensive, no jobs pay living wages, we can get shot just going to the grocery store, and going to the doctor for even a minor issue can set us back thousands of dollars. And then we're told we're 'just not working hard enough.'"
4. "I wish my mom understood how brainwashed she is by capitalism. I’m not saying she has to be a communist, but a little awareness would make a world of difference."
5. "We can’t afford to move out or buy a house. Possibly ever."
6. "I think this goes for almost every generation, but we HATE it when parents or family say, 'Back in my day...' It’s annoying and makes us feel like our problems are lesser than yours. Every generation has problems — not just the older ones. So, stop saying this to us!"
7. "Depression and anxiety is real. Just because we didn’t 'go through the worst' doesn’t mean we can’t be depressed or overwhelmed. Mental health is important."
8. "I wish my parents would care less about what I decide to wear, or what others are wearing."
9. "Our generation isn’t 'weak' or 'overly sensitive' — we are just trying our best to undo generations of damage. We are no longer just going to sit back and stay quiet about extreme issues."
10. "I'm not gonna have my life together by the time I'm 25. I'm currently 23, graduated with my Bachelor's in psychology last year and am working a full time job in the mental health field. I love psychology and helping people, but I also have the dream of going into music. My parents don't know this, and I've been pressured into going into graduate school. But I'd rather not commit to more school and more debt before I really explore what I want to do with my life."
11. "The world (especially the US) is a really scary place to be right now. I don't think my parents understand what it's like to grow up doing active shooter drills and being afraid to go to school."
12. "College is way more competitive than when y’all were in school. You can't just be a 'B' student who does one extracurricular to get into the college of your choice. Now, it's 'How many volunteer hours do you have? What extracurriculars do you do? What sports are you competing in? What scholarships have you received?' I can’t just have a fun time goofing around in high school and still get into a prestigious, private college like my dad did."
13. "We know social media is terrible for our mental health, but we feel like we won’t have friends without it."
14. "We just lost years of our youth to a pandemic, the planet is dying (and we don't know how long we'll get to live because of that), inflation is making sure we're probably never going to afford buying a house, and everyone's rights are getting stripped away in front of our eyes."
15. "I wish my parents understood how stressed I am. I know that they work stressful jobs while trying to raise a family, but I wish they could understand that school and extracurriculars can also pile up sometimes. I wish they understood how stressed I get sometimes, and how I'm not being 'lazy' — I'm just mentally tired. Sometimes I need a mental health day and a break from school."
16. "We have expectations for ourselves too, and when we don't meet them, we beat ourselves up over it. We don't need you to constantly remind us what failures we are."
17. "Not everything online is a lie. For example, my parents still insist the Oscars slap was staged, and that any personal story told online needs to cite what city or specific location it took place in to be real."
18. "Everyone is different, even siblings. We shouldn't be compared. Just because so-and-so did their homework quicker, it doesn't mean you should say, 'They can do it, why can't you?'"
19. And finally: "I wish they understood the true weight that we're carrying right now. Look around at our future: a soaring climate crisis, social injustice, corruption in our government, inflation, etc. It’s exhausting. This is our new way of life. But hey, someone’s gotta do the job, right?"
The National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline is 1-888-950-6264 (NAMI) and provides information and referral services; GoodTherapy.org is an association of mental health professionals from more than 25 countries who support efforts to reduce harm in therapy.
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.