Mental health is a crucial aspect of overall health and well-being, and it affects people from all walks of life. However, did you know that studies have shown that women experience unique challenges when it comes to their mental health? From societal pressures and cultural expectations to hormonal changes and traumatic experiences, women’s mental health issues are actually complex and require special attention. It’s time to break the silence and start talking about the importance of prioritizing women’s mental health. In this article, we will be exploring the reasons why women’s mental health is so critical, the challenges women face, and the steps that we all can take to promote better mental health for women. So, buckle up, and get ready to dive into this important topic that affects women of all ages, races, and backgrounds.
Factors that Affect Women’s Mental Health
Women have always been the backbone of society. They take care of the family, nurture relationships, and pursue their dreams. However, there are numerous reasons why women are in need of more attention when it comes to mental health.
The first reason is because of biological factors, specifically hormones. Women experience a variety of hormonal changes: puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Because of these changes, their mental health is impacted significantly and leading to mood swings, depression, and anxiety. Moreover, hormonal changes also impact the stress response of women, which makes them more susceptible to stress-related mental health issues (Kuehner, 2015).
Social and cultural factors also play a role in the mental health of women (Otten et al., 2021). Women often face different social and cultural pressures compared to men, such as expectations of society when it comes to gender roles, beauty standards, and family responsibilities. These pressures can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression, and can also impact women’s self-esteem.
Furthermore, women experience trauma from sexual violence and domestic abuse. This, of course, significantly impacts their mental health. Trauma can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety, and can persist for years (Oram et al., 2015). PTSD is a disorder that is experienced after a scary or dangerous event.
Why should Women’s Mental Health be Talked About More?
Studies show that women experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, and stress compared to men (Eaton et al., 2012). It is important to examine the impact that this can have on the lives of women and society as a whole.
Women’s overall quality of life is affected due to mental health issues. This impacts their ability to carry out daily activities, maintain relationships, and pursue their goals and aspirations. They also experience decreased self-esteem, reduced productivity, and difficulty in managing their emotions. These issues can have a negative impact on their personal and professional lives, which leads to a decreased sense of fulfillment and overall happiness.
Mental health is linked to physical health. Therefore, women who struggle with mental health issues are more likely to experience physical health problems, such as headaches, fatigue, and digestive issues (Otten et al., 2021). Furthermore, mental health issues impact women’s ability to engage in healthy behaviors such as exercise, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep.
Women’s mental health affects society as a whole as well. Since women play a critical role in society, their mental health is essential for the well-being of different families, communities, and the economy. Mental health issues may bring less productivity at work, leading to a decreased overall economic output. In addition, it also impacts women’s ability to care for their families, leading to increased healthcare costs and reduced quality of life for their loved ones (McLean Hospital, 2021).
How Can We Promote Better Mental Health for Women?
Educate and raise awareness
People must be educated and aware of the unique challenges that women face when it comes to their mental health. Educating the public leads to breaking down stigmas, therefore creating a more supportive environment for women.
Encourage help-seeking behavior
Studies show that women are more likely to seek help than men, but there is still a significant gap in terms of women who need help and those who actually seek it. Encouraging women to seek help and reduce the barriers to accessing mental health services can make a big difference.
Address social and cultural factors
Since social and cultural factors play an important role in women’s mental health, addressing gender stereotypes, promoting gender equality, and reducing violence against women can contribute to better mental health outcomes for women.
In conclusion, women’s mental health deserves greater attention and understanding. It impacts so many aspects of women’s lives, especially since there are so many different unique reasons and sources. We must all do our part in providing women with the necessary support and resources to help them achieve good mental health, and a happier, healthier, and a more fulfilling life.
Eaton, N. R., Keyes, K. M., Krueger, R. F., Balsis, S., Skodol, A. E., Markon, K. E., Grant, B. F., & Hasin, D. S. (2012). An invariant dimensional liability model of gender differences in mental disorder prevalence: Evidence from a national sample. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 121(1), 282–288. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0024780
Kuehner, C. (2017). Why is depression more common among women than among men? The Lancet Psychiatry, 4(2), 146–158. https://doi.org/10.1016/s2215-0366(16)30263-2
McLean Hospital. (2021, June 8). Why we need to pay attention to women's mental health. Why We Need To Pay Attention to Women's Mental Health | McLean Hospital. Retrieved from https://www.mcleanhospital.org/essential/why-we-need-pay-attention-womens-mental-health
Oram, S., Khalifeh, H., & Howard, L. M. (2017). Violence against women and mental health. The Lancet Psychiatry, 4(2), 159–170. https://doi.org/10.1016/s2215-0366(16)30261-9
Otten, D., Tibubos, A. N., Schomerus, G., Brähler, E., Binder, H., Kruse, J., Ladwig, K.-H., Wild, P. S., Grabe, H. J., & Beutel, M. E. (2021). Similarities and differences of mental health in women and men: A systematic review of findings in three large German cohorts. Frontiers in Public Health, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2021.553071