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What are women’s issues in mental health?
Although men and women are more similar than they are different, they do experience different mental health issues at different rates. For example, depression (specifically post-natal depression), eating disorders, anxiety, and trauma are all more common in women. There are also more gender specific issues such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, and surrogacy that women may seek support for.
It is very important for women to look after their mental health, as they are often caregivers, despite changing gender roles. Being a caregiver can be stressful and taxing, which in turn can have an impact on mental health. You cannot look after others if you do not care for yourself first.
Although these issues can also affect men, it is important to look at these issues though a women’s health lens in order to provide the best possible treatment and support for women seeking help.
Support is available
At Psychology Melbourne, we provide gender-sensitive, caring, and effective treatment for a variety of different concerns. Although women’s mental health issues are diverse, we take a tailored approach through our matching session, in order to find the best psychologist for you personally.
Key mental health issues for women
- Eating disorders
- Trauma and PTSD
- Caregiver stress
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Post-natal depression, which effects up to 15% of women in the year following birth of their baby
- Pelvic pain such as endometriosis and vulvodynia
Broadly, most disorders have a combination biological, psychological, and social factors causing the onset. Some women may be predisposed to depression or anxiety. Hormone levels during adolescence, pregnancy, or menopause can all potentially increase risk of developing disorders such as depression. Stress is also a major psychological trigger for decreased mental wellness. Some coping strategies are detailed further below.
There are also social components that increase risk for poor mental health in women. Gender-based and sexual violence are major issues for women in all walks of life, which in turn can lead to trauma, homelessness, poverty, substance abuse, and physical ill-health. It is important to take a holistic view of women’s health, and acknowledge the role that social and physical factors have in a variety of mental health issues.
Strategies to cope
- Psychological support from professionals, friends and family is very powerful in combatting mental health issues.
- Staying physically active and healthy, including appropriate sleep, a good diet, and exercise.
- Relaxation and mindfulness strategies- belly breathing, yoga, body scan exercises.
When to seek support
Encouragingly, help is readily available. It is useful to seek help from a psychologist if your everyday life is impaired- sleeping difficulty, altered eating, feeling lost or angry, inability to work or study, or severe relationship changes. If you are feeling suicidal, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
At Psychology Melbourne, we can help with coping strategies and ongoing support. The most common treatment option is cognitive-behavioural therapy (focused on working through distressing thoughts and feelings), however a personalised treatment plan will be discussed with your psychologist.