“We’ll each pick out our own favorite wine and jump on FaceTime at 7 o’clock,” she said.
But staying home and practicing social distancing may take a greater toll on young adults as they face additional mental health challenges, especially if they live alone or struggle with anxiety or depression, said Benjamin F. Miller, a psychologist who is the chief strategy officer for Well Being Trust, a national foundation focusing on mental and spiritual health.
Young adults are less likely than older adults to be married, and a 2018 Cigna survey of 20,000 Americans found that many reported feeling lonely and left out. Those who are 18 to 37 were more likely than older adults to report they had no meaningful relationships, did not share ideas and interests with anyone, felt isolated and did not feel close to anyone.
“Many of our millennials already feel socially disconnected, and this exacerbates those ongoing feelings these folks already had,” Dr. Miller said.
The Blue Cross report said that six of the top 10 conditions taking the heaviest toll on young adults were behavioral health conditions like substance abuse and mental health problems.
Like many millennials, Will Lanier, a 34-year-old from Austin, Tex., works at home, running the Out Foundation, a wellness and fitness organization for LGBTQ people that he founded. (A survivor of ulcerative colitis and colon cancer, he serves as a patient advocate on a Pfizer advisory board, for which he receives some financial compensation). He lives alone and worries about the desolation he might feel if classes at his CrossFit gym are shut down.
“FaceTime can only do so much, and human interaction is so important,” Mr. Lanier said.
While people often make a point of reaching out to older relatives or neighbors who live alone and may be lonely, he said, “people don’t check on young people.”
“It’s just me and my dog — I’ll go days without talking with someone,” he said. “If I slipped in the shower, it’d be days before anyone found me.”