Studies Show Women Are More Frequently Diagnosed With Poor Mental Health When Compared To Men. Here Is Why
At the cost of making this sound like a warning signal, I will admit that my mental health hasn’t been all that great lately. I am not sure whether it is the lockdown to blame, or something else, considering it wasn’t all that better in times of pre-corona either, but for the longest time I have been finding myself grappling with the symptoms of anxiety, depression or stress. And turns out, I am not the only one walking around with a heavy chest or a heavy head, for a study now confirms that women in comparison to men, are more frequently diagnosed with poor mental health conditions.
Why aren’t we surprised?
The other day, as I spoke to my beau on the phone, in the wee hours of the night, I confided in him about how I have been battling anxiety. His response, brisk, was to simply ask me not to read too much into situations that are bound to give me stress. And that got me to thinking, what were these situations that were putting me in so much stress in the first place? And just like a can of worms, things kept pouring out.
From our work, to our family woes to our relationships, everything that women are involved in often results in creating situations of stress, mainly because of the pressure of inequality that we are constantly faced with. In fact, reports by the UPV/EHU’s research group OPIK, Social Determinants of Health and Demographic Change, suggests that there is a prevalence of poor mental health among women of all ages and across all social groups.
There is also a mention of the multiplier effect, due to the accumulation of experiences of inequality. This reality also appears to be unequal in terms of the age and socioeconomic level of the patients. And that right there, the unequal status offered to women, was the prime reason for these distressing stats.
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One of the authors of the study, Amaia Bacigalupe said, “women are more frequently diagnosed with depression and anxiety and the taking of prescribed psychotropic drugs is also significantly higher, even if there is no difference with men with respect to mental health equality, diagnoses and frequency of visits to healthcare centres.”
She continued saying, “There is a clear relationship between the degree of gender inequality in society and gender inequalities in mental health. So all those policies designed to combat the discrimination endured by women on the labour market, in the responsibility for domestic and care work, in the use of time and, generally, relating to those that empower women on the basis of their greater political representation and making them more socially visible, will exert a positive effect on the reduction in mental inequalities between men and women”.
That women were victims of this patriarchal society, was always a known fact, but now that this has started seeping into affecting our mental health, what with the burden to be perfect homemakers and a modern working woman and to juggle these things without flinching. Of course the society isn’t fully to blame here, we ourselves have often let people walk over us, by giving them the power to stress us out or give us anxiety. But now is a good time as ever to take that power back, and nurse our minds back to health.