International Women's Day: Women & Mental health

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For International Women's Day, what do we know and what can we learn about women's mental health? 

We all have poor mental health sometimes and anyone can develop a mental health problem. It’s international women’s day though which makes it a great opportunity to look at women’s mental health.

There are certain types of mental health problems that women experience more commonly than men; conditions such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or mixed anxiety & depressive disorders. Some form of 'baby blues' is so common in women after giving birth that it is considered normal. One study showed women are twice as likely to experience phobias. There is also evidence that women and men experience the onset of Schizophrenia differently (later in women).

Knowing differences like these can help us support women better, improve treatments and challenge mental health stigma.

There will also be a lot of discussion on International Women’s Day about discrimination. It’s important to remember discrimination of all kinds contributes to poor mental health. So do our expectations of women; for instance pressures in the media, at home and at work to act or look a certain way.

These are just a few examples of the complex links.

We sometimes forget that expectations, based on being male or female, have an impact on men too! The idea that men are supposed to be tough and in control can make it difficult for them to talk about their mental health at all.

We’ve come full circle then, when we think about International Women’s Day we may assume it’s just about women- and to a degree it rightly is. But just like mental health, it’s really about all of us.

Read real stories from people with lived experience of mental health problems.

Find out more about women and mental health on the Mental Health Foundation website. 

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