Women’s issues can refer to any concern that might impact a woman’s mental health. These concerns might be related to gender stereotyping or assumptions and concerns related to women’s health, but they are also likely to include other challenges faced by women that have nothing to do with gender. It is typically considered best to avoid making assumptions based solely on gender, as a person’s identity is multifaceted and no single aspect defines a person entirely.
Women may experience certain biological, environmental, and psychosocial challenges related to gender, and these concerns can have a significant impact on mental health and well-being. These issues, and many others, are often able to be addressed in therapy with the help of a mental health professional.
Today, mental health care has vastly improved, but additional improvements may further support the effective treatment of mental health concerns more prevalent among women. According to Oxford University clinical psychologist Daniel Freeman, who analyzed 12 large-scale studies that looked at the general population in different areas of the world, women may be between 20% and 40% more likely than men to develop a mental illness. According to Freeman, “Women tend to view themselves more negatively than men and that is a vulnerability factor for many mental health problems.”
Research aimed at the various factors, both protective and detrimental, that impact women’s mental health may be beneficial. For example, gaining a better understanding of links between female anatomy and certain mental health concerns could improve the way health concerns are treated.
While research indicates women may be more likely to experience a mental health concern, not all women will necessarily experience a health challenge, and a mental or physical health concern may be experienced in different ways. Some mental health concerns commonly experienced by women include:
- Postpartum depression
- Postpartum psychosis
- Posttraumatic stress
- Eating disorders
- Borderline personality
- Mood-related challenges
- Self-harming behaviors
Women may also be more likely than men to experience certain mental health concerns:
- Eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa are clinically reported at rates of 10 to 1.
- Postpartum depression and psychosis are largely experienced by women, although men are increasingly reporting the experience of baby blues, or paternal postnatal depression.
- In general, women are more likely than men to experience serious mental health concerns that impact daily function. This remains true across all age groups.