Women’s mental health issues definitely have both biological and a number of outer factors. The society and its construction sometimes lead women to mental health issues.
In general no one is secured of mental health disorders regardless age, gender or race. However, many studies have shown that there is a difference between men and women’s mental health characteristics.
Gender should be identified as a critical determinant of mental health and mental illness. According to statistics, there are certain mental illnesses which are common among either men or women.
Women predominate, for instance in such mental disorders as depression, anxiety, and somatic complaints. Of course, we cannot state that’s all mental disorders are gender-based. There are also no marked gender mental disorders like schizophrenia bipolar disorder and only about 2% of the population is affected by these disorders.
Coming up with the history of women’s mental health issues, I will try to explore the key factors of women not to have where they come from and what does the picture look like today.
History of Women’s Mental Health Issues
The approaches to women’s mental health have faced critically huge changes through history. Women’s mental health issues were perceived and treated differently in various cultures.
It’s obvious that today it looks like the way too different than it was for instance 100 years ago. How modern cultures perceive and attempt to treat mental illnesses have undergone significant changes during the history. Previous eras are full of mistaken approaches and stereotypes connected with women’s mental health issues.
Victorian times women were considered unbalanced because of a number of reasons, which are considered quite common today, such as menstruation-related anger, pregnancy-related sadness or post-partum depression.
That kind of seemingly simple reasons was diagnosed with one term in past: hysteria. It’s not a secret that hundreds of decades women were considered weaker sex and physically and emotionally more inclined to breakdowns than men.
The religious basis and also deeply rooted superstitions played their role. In middle 1800s, women who were suffering from or believed to be possessed by evil. Those women were considered to have no treatment and were placed to insane asylums, where they were kept in cages in inhumane conditions.
Women’s Mental Health Issues: Modern Studies
However, during the history, the views and approaches towards women’s mental health issues started changing. The 1900s are known for a boost in the sphere of mental health studies. Many and many doctors started studying mental health issues and tried to find the common features identical to men and/or women.
Finally, doctors of this era came to the conclusion that women were more inclined to have mental health problems than men. They explained their statement with the fact women made huge efforts to improve the air status by seeking education and being engaged in as many activities as she can.
To them, those burdens brought women to stress and depression. Of course, raising idea like this would have been ridiculous today, as in today’s society there is no issue of superiority and inferiority connected with mental health.
Of course, they are gender-based studies, but all those studies are viewed from the biological point and nothing more. All those researchers are aimed to find common approach and proper treatment for each individual.
Common Reason of Women’s Mental Health Issues
There are a number of mental health issues (such as depression anxiety) which are directly connected with such factors as gender-based roles, life experience, stressful conditions and other events which had a negative impact on an individual’s life.
The factors which are closely interconnected with women’s mental health issues include sexual harassment, violence, socioeconomic development of an individual, lack of financial resources, low social status etc.
By the way, post-traumatic stress disorder which is predominant among women is mostly a result of sexual violence towards women.
Social end economic factors influence women’s mental health issues mostly. By saying socioeconomic factors, I understand gender inequality, unemployment, low income etc.
It’s not a secret that in many societies women lack the most basic rights. It’s not simple to live in a society when human rights are not properly protected and the rights of women are violated every day. Being constantly on the pressure and not having the choice of making own decisions is not something easy to handle.
Besides the above mentioned there is also a number of factors which are proved to be reflected mostly in women. For instance, women who are separated divorced or widowed are more inclined to have mental health problems than man.
The same thing is with eating disorders: women are more likely to suffer from bulimia and anorexia then man. The eating disorders are very often reflected together with depression and anxiety among women.
Postnatal Depression as One of the Most Common Women’s Mental Health Issues
Over 60% of women experience postnatal depression after having a baby during the first year after the birth. They experience depression and anxiety as are entering to a new level of life full of new challenges.
It’s obvious that this situation is not uncommon as women need time to adjust to their role, adjust to the changes and cope with everyday stresses connected with motherhood.
Women’s Mental Health Issues in Numbers
According to WHO, women experience depressive disorders more frequently than men. The statistics indicate, 41.9% of women have experienced neuropsychiatric disorders compared with 29. 3% of men.
80% of the population which are mentally affected by violence, civil wars disasters etc., are women and children. At least 1 in 5 women have serious mental health issues because of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime.
How to Deal with Women’s Mental Health Issues?
The picture connected with women’s mental health issues is especially upsetting in developing countries of the world. About 20% of those attending primary healthcare have serious problems with anxiety and depression.
The problem is especially vivid because of some cultural stereotypes. Women’s mental health issues are not recognized and treated properly in those countries. The communication between doctors and women is extremely restricted in many countries.
Women are not supposed to talk about their own mental health problems as this is not accepted it in that country. This leads to more serious and deeply rooted problems.
One thing is clear, having mental health issues is a common thing for all ages and genders. No one ever is secured from it and it’s okay to experience some mental health issues during the lifetime. It’s more than essential to recognize that the key attribute to prevent the further development of the problem is applying for medical treatment.
It would be extremely wrong to wait for “a right time” to apply for medical services. No women by any means should be ashamed or restricted in getting medical services regardless the country where she lives and financial resources she posses!
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