A new report is out regarding the differences in mental illness between men and women and some of the differences are quite startling.
While about half of us (both men and women) will face some kind of mental illness in our lifetime, women attempt suicide far more often; three times more (although men actually die from suicide more). Women also suffer more from severe depression.
Many former studies on mental illness focused almost exclusively on men, while ignoring the fact that women suffer equally. A major point here is illustrated in post-partum depression, which up to recently was considered nothing more than 'baby blues' or some kind of after birth funk that women needed to snap out of in order to care for their newborn. Sexual assault is also a prime reason for mental illness - and sexual assault of women is highly under-reported.
Cultural issues are also a problem. While men are supposed to be strong and invincible (also a terrible stereotype that stops men from asking for help when they are suffering from a mental illness) it seems to be generally accepted that women are somehow mentally weaker and that consequent mental illness is just part of being a woman. We just need to live with it. We're supposed to alternate from hysteria to sullenness, right? It's just because we're having PMS....
Expert believe that when specific incidences in women are taken into account (childhood abuse/sexual abuse/rape/domestic violence) then women have a far better chance of recovering from mental illness. And treating young women and female children is crucial - the sooner the better. About half of mental illnesses in both male and females occur before the age of 14. Early diagnosis gives adult women (and men) a better chance of a stable life with risk factors of incarceration, domestic violence and substance abuse lessening.
The report is titled Action Steps for Improving Women's Mental Health and was conducted by the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Has mental illness affected your life? How did you (or do you) cope?
All user-generated information on this site is the opinion of its author only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. Members and guests are responsible for their own posts and the potential consequences of those posts detailed in our Terms of Service.