The awareness about mental health burden in women more than men is still quite minimal throughout the world, especially in countries like India. The taboo associated with mental disorders is way harder to overcome than curing the actual disease.
According to conventional thinking, men face more mental health issues than women since the suicide rates are higher than women. However, deep study and detailed statistics reveal that the scenario is quite opposite. The mental health burdens of women are way more than what men go through in their lifetime.
There are a lot of reasons why women and mental health issues are closely connected. Most of these have been on our horizon for the longest time and yet we seem to normalize them.
The prevalence of mental health issues in women has been neglected and disregarded by society since time immemorial. We might be progressing with time but we need to focus more on the mental health burden on women. In this article, we’ll talk about mental health and substance use and how gender is related to it.
Mental health burden in women more than men : Aspects of gender in mental health and substance use
Gender plays a very important role in mental health. While mental health issues are important in both men and women, certain factors cannot be denied which lead to a great divide as far as one’s well-being is concerned.
The World Health Organization (WHO) confirms that the leading mental health problems that are seen in adults are directed more towards women. These problems include dementia, depression, organic brain syndromes, etc. Several reasons lead to women having more mental health issues such as medical factors, patriarchy, physical abuse, etc.
The medical factors might include the lower secretion of serotonin in women, which can lead to signs of depression when the circumstances are conducive. Moreover, health conditions like menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, etc, result in a lot of hormonal changes in a woman’s body.
Therefore, a plethora of leading mental health diseases are quite common in women, when their body goes through such changes.
The mental health burden on women is major because of the social factors that differentiate a man from a woman, on parameters other than the biological ones. Women have always been oppressed and denied a life of free will.
Their aspirations have been ignored and their actions restricted. They have always been dependent on their male counterparts for their financial requirements since they were made unable to sustain their livelihood.
Throughout the history of the world, women and children have been the worst affected due to wars, disasters, national conflicts, etc. They have been at the receiving end of all the horrors associated with such events. Such situations have led to a decline in their mental well-being.
Molestation and rape need to be mentioned in this regard as well. A major mental health bane on women throughout their lives is the endurance of sexual abuse. Statistics show that 1 in 5 women in the world go through rape attempts or are rape survivors.
Such people often suffer from PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a mental health disorder that occurs due to the trauma attached to such incidents. With numbers as heartbreaking as these, it’s not surprising that mental health illnesses are more commonly found in women.
Some leading mental health problems that affect women
This refers to psychiatric disorders that are followed by severe instances of fear or worry. This is quite common in most women who face anxiety all their lives. There are various symptoms of anxiety such as rapid breathing, anxiousness, sweating, irritability, feeling exhausted, etc.
These are mostly noticed in women twice as likely as in men. Certain societal and medical evils have the most negative impact on women. These mostly relate to unemployment, discrimination, infertility, domestic violence, etc.
Women, especially in India are expected to live up to the expectation of every role that they are assigned to, socially or professionally. Even if they are doing great work-wise, they are expected to do all their household chores as well.
These kinds of conditions are not imposed on men who go to work, simply because women have been responsible for looking after the household since time immemorial. More often than not, it becomes extremely difficult for women to balance work, home, and personal relationships, resulting in depression.
Not many women talk about their plight but their struggles are quite evident for those who care to notice. Moreover, bodily changes also play a big role. Even today, not many companies have menstrual leaves, and women are discriminated against because they bleed in the workplace.
Because of all these reasons and more, women are more likely to be depressed than men. Therapy can go a long way in curing depression in the long run, if the sessions are attended regularly and proper instructions are followed.
We have talked about how gender affects mental health and is a major factor in determining one’s well-being. The mental health burden on women is a result of several elements that have been discussed above. It’s time we start acknowledging these issues and treat them effectively, instead of brushing them off and normalizing them.
Mental health is as important as one’s physical health if not more and it needs to be catered to. Not everybody is comfortable talking about their issues and whenever you feel you can help someone simply by listening to them or being there for them, don’t step back. Your little gestures can brighten up someone’s day.