Updated: Feb 17
Taking care of your mental health is critical for both men and women. This blog will highlight some of the struggles that women face in particular. Addressing issues that women are more prone to, looking at mental health during menopause, along with times of menstruation.
Also, mental health issues may present differently in women and therefore the different ways of self-help to support yourself and even others will vary. Mental health problems among women are on the rise. One in five women (19%) experience a Common Mental Disorder (such as anxiety or depression), compared with one in eight (12%) men.
Pregnancy and mental health issues
Mental health problems are worldwide and can present in anyone. However, looking into issues that women may appear more prone to, we come across the statistics that women are more likely to be diagnosed with problems such as anxiety and depression.
Many women do struggle with perinatal depression. Sadly, some do not reach out to get the help and support they deserve as they feel ashamed. Feel that as a new mother they will ‘get in trouble’.
For many women having a baby it is a joyful process. Many pregnant women can become depressed during (postpartum depression) or after (perinatal depression), also means antenatal depression and postpartum depression.
Menopause and mental health issues
Also, while every women's experience of menopause is different, they often have the feeling of impact on their mental health in common. Resulting in feeling more anxious and experiencing mood swings, issues that will be further covered in full later on.
What mental health problems are more common in women?
After looking further into mental health statistics, we see that women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety.
Women also have a higher risk of suffering postpartum and antenatal depression. Yes, you read that right! Men can get postpartum and antenatal depression too!
Life events and hormonal changes can have a sizable impact on a woman's mental health. Statistics highlight that women are also more prone to abuse, resulting in being more prone to PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). We will discuss this further in a future blog.
How can mental health affect women differently?
Mental health presents and affects every individual differently. After puberty, depression rates are higher in females compared to males. This is because girls typically reach puberty before boys do, leaving them more likely to develop depression at an earlier age than boys are. Having poor mental health may mean that you lack energy and motivation to do many things. Sometimes people may lose interest in things they may have previously enjoyed due to feeling low and unmotivated. When becoming a parent, we also tend to feel more pressure to be the perfect parent, therefore stressing ourselves out and putting more pressure on ourselves creating us to become more stressed in situations.
Mental health around menopause and menstruation
As women, hormones play a big part in our moods and mental health. Menopausal symptoms may include:
anger and irritability
loss of self-esteem
loss of confidence
low mood and feelings of sadness or depression
poor concentration – often described as brain fog
These will impact our mental health resulting in us feeling more stressed or even depressed. Many women who experience menopause experience problems with sleep. Our menstrual cycle heightens our hormones. Therefore, leaving us to feel more anxious, depressed, and more irritated. As well as physical symptoms like cramps and headaches, PMS can include emotional symptoms like:
Tiredness and fatigue
Teariness and emotional vulnerability
Feeling generally unsettled
All this can mean that we are:
Not feeling very sexy (our libido and lubrication goes AWOL)
More sensitive to criticism (from ourselves and others)
Reacting more strongly to triggers
Wanting to withdraw and spend some time alone
Self-care for women's mental health
Now it is not always easy to control our hormones. However, we can take care of ourselves. Self-care is necessary to keep ourselves positive. Doing things like regularly exercising and getting out of the house will make a noticeable difference. Setting a custom morning routine helps to keep our minds vigilant and feel more in control of how we go about our days as we cannot always know what the day holds for us. Taking some time out to do yoga is also beneficial for our bodies and minds.
As well as keeping our body fit having a positive effect on our mental health. Additional seeking professional support is also a great addition to self-care and perfectly fine to do so if further guidance is needed. We also find ourselves comparing ourselves to others and criticizing ourselves. However, trying to contrast ourselves to others is less beneficial, and it is important to remember to love the body we have. Plus, most of what we see online is air brushed!
We should always remember men's mental health is just as important as women's. Equal to women, there are mental health problems that men struggle with more than women. It is crucial to take good care of your mind and to remember there is no shame in reaching out for further help. If you would like to further your understanding and to support those with mental health issues, we provide Mental Health First Aid courses and menopause in work placement. For more information