Q. What is the origin of the YMyHealth site?

Melissa Schenkman, MPH, MSJ Founder, YMyHealth

A. Melissa Schenkman has always had a love for health, medicine, and science, as well as empowering others with that knowledge using her journalism background. During her medical studies and in her work as a health journalist, she discovered how little health information was available for and applicable to Generation Y.

Then after talking with millennials around the country, many suffering from chronic conditions and frustrated by the lack of health information relevant to them, it confirmed that there was a need for a resource covering millennial health issues.

YMyHealth was the solution — a site that she created and designed “for millennials and by millennials;” featuring content written and produced by millennials and experts from relevant fields who also are millennials themselves. The goal is to talk to and not at millennials, using visuals and specialized content to help Generation Y make informed decisions about their health. 

Q. What are the main health challenges faced by Generation Y?

A. Millennials may be substantially less healthy as they age – those aged 34 to 36 in 2017 were 11 percent less healthy than Gen Xers aged 34 to 36 in 2014. (*Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), The Health of Millinneals, 2019)

When compared to the national population, behavioral health conditions were shown to affect millennials more than physical ones, with rates of hyperactivity and major depression having the highest increases during 2014-2017, the time period of BCBSA data analysis.

Q. What specific health challenges impact Generation Y?

A. Millennials have had a double digit increase in diagnoses for eight of the top 10 health conditions known for impacting Generation Y: major depression, substance use disorder, alcohol use disorder, hypertension, hyperactivity, psychotic conditions, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol, tobacco use disorder, and type 2 diabetes.*

Q. What are the mental health challenges facing Generation Y?

A. Major depression, anxiety, substance abuse disorders, and dying by suicide are just a few of the mental health challenges millennials face today.

In 2019, we were deemed the loneliest generation by YouGov, an international research and data analytics group. In their analysis, 30% of millennials reported always or often feeling lonely, as opposed to 10% of Gen Xers and 15% of baby boomers.

A BCBSA report also released last year found diagnoses of major depression to be rising at a faster rate for millennials compared to any other age group—a 47% increase since 2013.

“As more Americans, especially millennials and adolescents, are diagnosed with major depression each year, it’s increasingly important that there’s continued research and resources allocated towards new ways to treat depression. The more options there are, the greater the likelihood is that we can find the right course of treatment for each person suffering from major depression.”

Vincent G. Nelson, M.D., vice president of medical affairs for BCBSA

Q: What kind of information is available on the YMyHealth site?

A: YMyHealth provides relevant health information on several platforms:

  • We provide episode packages of videos on different medical conditions and diseases that affect our generation. We showcase patient stories to learn about what our fellow millennials have faced and how they have overcome those challenges.

All our videos are less than five minutes long and accessible by computer, iPhone and iPad anytime!

  • Discover our Q and A sessions with knowledgeable physicians talking about health issues relevant to millennials. Information is supported by super cool 3-D medical animations that cover the core knowledge about a medical condition. This includes anatomy, normal function, signs and symptoms of disease, diagnosis, and treatment.
  • Check out our blog pieces where we interview millennials about their firsthand experiences dealing with a variety of physical and mental health challenges—a personal perspective that will help you understand health conditions that may affect YOU.

YMyHealth’s approach is to provide a unique perspective from which fellow millennials can make their own healthcare decisions in consultation with healthcare providers.