Prevalence of gender divide in mental health demands adequate investment

Prevalence of gender divide in mental health demands adequate investment

In the past few years, it has been observed that an increased number of women have been affected by mental health issues compared to men. Moreover, the problem is more common among girls and young women. Some of the prominent reasons behind the above-mentioned shocking revelation are societal pressure, negative body image, social media, pressure at school, etc.

One of the major factors that often goes unnoticed is the increased vulnerability to sexual violence, harassment and abuse.  Since women stand more susceptible to poverty than men do, it emerged as a major risk factor for psychiatric disorders in the last few years.  Though the number of mental health admissions, suicidal thoughts and self-harm tendencies continue to rise among women, the government bodies have not propagated effective remedial measures to deal with the issue. In fact,  people at large have neglected such issues.

Key reasons for deteriorating mental health among women

Some of the recent studies have highlighted the major gap areas responsible for the growing gender divide in mental health issues. A recent report, shared by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) in the United Kingdom, revealed that the services targeted to tackle mental health problems among females are “almost entirely absent” from the present government strategy.

According to another study conducted by the University of Manchester, the risk of self-harm among girls aged between 13 and 16 spiked by 68 percent from 2011 to 2014. Overall, the rates were higher among girls than boys.  Another study by the University College London Institute of Education and the University of Liverpool revealed that a quarter of girls (24 percent) and one in 10 boys (9 percent) are depressed at the age of 14. With the emphasis of the current government to reduce the budget for health care, the above problem has emerged even in the United States.

While the above statistics clearly reveal the mental health crisis among women, it is very unfortunate to watch the government paying no heed to the situation. In fact, it has also been shirking from making any financial commitments to meet the complex and gender-specific needs of the women suffering from psychiatric disorders. The need of the hour is to better understand and respond to their problems by investing in the mental health services.

According to Dr. Amy Pollard, working for the MHF and author of the report, the primary reasons for the rise in mental health problems among young women are increased social media use, subsequent scrutiny over body image on platforms like Instagram, domestic abuse and austerity that affects nearly 86 percent of the women.

Barbara Keeley, MP, Labour’s shadow minister for mental health, brought another interesting statistics into focus. Since over a third of clinical commissioning groups spent less than planned on these services in the past year, he stated that women often face trouble in accessing the appropriate mental health services when needed.

Key to recovery is instant help

While depression and anxiety are the most common mental health issues affecting women, another major psychiatric disorder witnessed is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is majorly caused due to the exposure to sexual abuse, physical violence, etc. These mental health issues can affect women to such an extent that they can begin indulging in harmful activities like self-harm, substance abuse, etc.

Therefore, it is important that the right steps are taken immediately to help women and others dealing with mental health issues. Along with this, it is also important for individuals to understand that they themselves are responsible for ensuring  sound mental health to themselves. Hence, they must take preventive measures to stay away from the risk factors that might lead to the development of a mental health issue.

If you are someone you know is dealing with depression, contact the Depression Treatment Helpline for assistance. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-619-7729 or chat online with our representatives to know about the best depression rehabilitation centers in the U.S. to connect with them.

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