When Is Women’s Mental Health Month?
While mental health can affect both genders, women are the most affected. According to statistics, 1 in 5 women experiences a type of mental health problem. And luckily, there is a month when the world raises awareness of mental health, especially among women.
So when is women’s mental health month? ‘May’ is national mental health month when the world raises awareness. Women have a week between dates 10 and 16 dedicated in this month to National Women’s health week. However, Contigo Wellness, an organization in Texas, has started a movement to make ‘March’ National mental health month.
Read on to learn more about women’s mental health month and why it is important.
When Is Women’s Mental Health Month?
Women’s Mental health awareness is colebrated in May. In mental health awareness month, a week between dates 10 and 16 serves as national women's health week. During the week, various organizations and health institutions lead in raising awareness of women's mental health.
Considering that most victims are women, various organizations feel like a week is not enough to raise women’s mental health awareness. Contigo wellness is one of these organizations leading a movement to make March a national women's mental health month.
Diana Anzaldua, the founder of Contigo Wellness and Austin Trauma Therapy, has succeeded in declaring the month in Austin, Texas.
March is women's history month in various countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. The movement pushes a petition to include mental health awareness in this month when much interest is on women.
In their Instagram @contigo_wellness, you can join to learn more about how you can support the petition. Apart from this, in April during national stress awareness month, mental health problems are also discussed briefly.
October 10th is another day when mental health awareness is raised all over the world. However, since COVID-19, statistics show more people, especially women, have developed more mental health problems.
Mental Health in Women
Mental health affects how a person makes life choices, especially concerning their health. It’s also responsible for healthy relationships and stress management. The person's behavior, mood, and thinking are affected if suffering from mental health problems.
While almost one billion people suffer from a type of mental disorder, women make up the greater percentage. In general populations, 1 in 5 women suffers from a form of a mental disorder, while men are 1 in 8. These statistics translate to 19% of women and 13 % of men.
Also, mental health problems affect women of different age groups differently. In the U.S., teenagers and young adults are two times more likely to suffer from a type of mental health problem than older adults. Also, women in adulthood are most likely to develop hormonal-related depression or anxiety.
The following table consists of some statistics on women’s mental health.
|19%||Women are likely to develop a type of mental disorder|
|4.7%||Women with Anxiety Disorder|
|53%||Women with mental health problems with a history of abuse|
|2 times||Young women below the age of 25 compared to those of age more than 50|
|29%||Women affected by mental health are living in poverty|
|16%||Affected women not in poverty|
|36%||Of the victims of abuse have attempted suicide|
|22%||Have already harmed themselves|
|29%||Mixed race and black women have mental health disorders, compared to whites.|
|75%||Of the affected women are below the age of 24|
While women are likely to develop anxiety and depression in adulthood, they’re more likely to call for help, unlike men. Men on the other side are more likely to develop substance use problems and don’t seek psychiatric advice.
Why Are Women More Vulnerable to Mental Health Problems?
With the statistics heavily against women, it’s only natural to wonder why. The reasons are many ranging from biological to physical and many more. The following are some of the reasons why women have more mental health problems.
1. Their Biology
According to biologists, a woman’s brain is different from that of a man's. The female brain anatomy allows them to feel more emotional and empathetic than males. With underlying mental problems, these qualities can worsen or accelerate mental illnesses.
2. They are More Prone to Abuse
Over half of the women with a form of mental health disorder have suffered from abuse. Most young girls are vulnerable to abuse by older offenders as they appear more defenseless. Research shows 82% of the abused victims below the age of 18 are female.
Other than physical abuse, females are more likely to be stalked than men. Being stalked creates fear, which can develop into stress and depression with time. According to statistics, women are four times more likely to be stalked than men.
3. Women Care More About Societal Judgements
Women are likely to feel pressure in this world where people concentrate on outside appearances. Maintaining shape, being empathetic, friendly, welcoming, and looking attractive, are some of society's expectations of women.
This constant pressure can affect some negatively, especially their mental health. With each woman being unique, it can take some more time to master all the qualities.
While others are also not physically blessed as some, the judgments and expectations can overwhelm the majority. Pressure causes anxiety, which in time can cause mental health problems.
4. More Discriminated
Women are more gender discriminated against than men in almost every aspect. Be it in the amount of pay, roles in a job, or promotions, women are often overlooked. This can be depressing to women striving to reach a goal, with few chances provided to them.
The victim is likely to feel hopeless, and if this discrimination has additional problems, like race, they can develop a problem. These later develop into low self-esteem as well as depression. At this stage, a mental health disorder is imminent if untreated and can affect performance at work and home.
5. Susceptible To Hormonal Fluctuations Perinatal Period
Women are also more likely to be affected by mental health problems during pregnancy. This is often because of hormonal fluctuations, causing anxiety and depression. Also, in the postpartum period, between 10 to 15 percent of new parents suffer from anxiety and depression.
Likewise, since most victims don't know they have a mental health problem, people near them can learn by observing some signs. Some of the symptoms include
1. Unending sadness
2. Mood swings
3. Too much crying
4. Thoughts of harming themselves or the baby
If you notice any of the symptoms, notify your general practitioner or the professional responsible for their postnatal care.
What Are the Common Mental Health Problems in Women?
While women can suffer from various mental health problems, some are more common than others. They include:
Anxiety is the feeling of unease or nervousness, and has many causes. The victim is likely to feel panicked and worry at the slightest things. With time a person can develop a mental health illness, like anxiety disorder.
Depression is the feeling of constant sadness followed by losing interest in most things you previously liked. It’s most common in young women since they’re more likely to think over a problem before seeking help. Depression can anger increase the risk of self-harm, and it can lead to disorders.
Trauma is an emotional reaction after a traumatic event happens. With over a fifth of women being likely to be assaulted in their lifetime, trauma is common. Trauma can cause problems like headaches, and also panic attacks due to flashbacks.
4. Eating Disorders
Overeating or undereating are some unhealthy eating habits causing eating disorders. Between 85% and 95% of women are more likely to develop an eating disorder. The victims use food as a coping mechanism and depending on the underlying problems can worsen.
5. Suicidal Thoughts
While most men die through suicide compared to men, women frequent the thought more than men. The victim will often develop suicidal ideas and sometimes execute them unsuccessfully. Women with this mental health problem can end their lives or cause life-long complications.
How Can You Help?
Sadly, most cultures across the world disregard the role of women in their societies. Also, some do not pay attention to mental health because they don’t believe it is real. So, how can you help considering that some people suffering from mental illnesses are not aware of it?
- Raising awareness is one of the ways to help with mental health problems. This is because it reduces stigma and encourages more victims to speak out and seek help. Raising awareness also teaches people how to handle and help victims.
- You can also support the petition while women lead as the most affected. If successful, more people can become aware of mental health problems during the awareness month.
- You can, however, still spread awareness on the available month, week, and day and try to reach as many people as possible.
- Most importantly, encourage people with mental health problems to seek professional help. If the problems are temporal, like during pregnancy, you can encourage them through time for quicker recovery.
- If you’re the victim, take the step and seek help, after which you will recover.
Mental health is crucial and affects a lot of our decisions in our day-to-day life. With a mental health problem, the victim is likely to develop a social, mental, or physical issue. This affects their general performance in life and if untreated, it can cause irreversible damage.
So, with statistics heavily suggesting women have more mental health problems, raising awareness can encourage them to speak up. More impact is evident during the second week of the month of raising mental health awareness, dedicated to women’s health.
Also, you can join the movement to include and recognize March as women's mental health month.
Means, if 29% of women who are mentally affected live in poverty, the rest of the percentage (100-29) 71% of women do not live in poverty.
Then, how about 16% of women who are mentally affected, but do not live in poverty?
This 16% is mentally affected? If they are, who will be that 71%?
I am confused! Please clarify this from the readers' point of view who will come to your well-researched article to clarify their confusion.