Women’s mental health: the statistics 

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Health Assured team

02 March 2022

The month of March is upon us, and International Women’s Day is just around the corner. For us here at Health Assured, that means taking time to reflect on the state of women’s mental health in 2022. 

Women’s and men’s mental health have their own distinctions, and more research is starting to focus on these variabilities. We're now beginning to understand what this means for mental health treatment. These great strides in research will help us learn how we can tailor mental health support to be more effective for women—and men. 

Statistics on women’s mental health that have emerged from this research are striking. The figures highlight the struggles that women and girls face across the world in their mental health battles. 

But these are more than merely just statistics. These are lives of real women facing struggles with their mental health day by day

So in honour of women across the world, we’re taking a second to pause. To reflect. And to think about women’s mental health, considering what we can all do to show our support. 

 

How common are mental health problems in women?

  • Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety as men. 
  • One in five women compared with one in eight men have a mental disorder. 
  • Over a quarter (26%) of young women aged between 16–24 years old report having a common mental health problem in any given week. This compares to 17% of adults. And this number is increasing.
  • Women are more likely to be affected by depression than men.

 

The link between mental health and abuse 

Evidence shows that 53% of women who have mental health problems have also experienced abuse. The link between physical and sexual violence, trauma and PTSD is clear from this research. 

Further research into the figures also highlights how these traumatic events can increase suicide and self-harm

So when we consider that 1.6 million women in England and Wales experienced domestic abuse in 2021—we can see we have a real issue on our hands here. 

Many women seeking support for these issues will need specialist trauma care that gender-neutral services are often unable to provide. If we can raise awareness around the severity of the abuse women are suffering from, we can increase understanding around the need for investment into these improved services. 

 

Other factors that impact women’s mental health 

Other factors also impact women’s mental health in a range of ways. These conditions and experiences can be extremely challenging to go through. So we want to highlight how these factors impact women around the world every day. 

 

Premenstrual Dysmorphic Disorder (PMDD)

PMDD is a severe form of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) that occurs a week or two before a woman’s period. The condition affects around one in 20 women, often making day-to-day life a struggle. The symptoms include: 

  • Feeling anxious and on edge 
  • Feeling teary and upset
  • Problems concentrating 
  • Pain in muscles and joints
  • Increased anger levels and conflict with others
  • Headaches 
  • Feeling overwhelmed or not in control

 

Infertility & baby loss 

Women’s struggles with infertility and baby loss can have a detrimental impact on their mental health. Having fertility problems and trouble conceiving can feel hopeless and draining. Especially if you’ve been trying to conceive for a long time.

Baby loss and miscarriage are also extremely traumatic events that many women go through every day. There’s no right or wrong way to grieve or deal with these difficult situations. If you are currently going through this, know that you’re not alone—support is available. Here are some helpful links for accessing support. 

SANDS - the Still Birth and Neonatal Death charity provide care and support for the people who need it. 

FertilitynetworkUK - offers information and support for those going through fertility challenges. 

 

Postnatal depression 

Postnatal depression is a type of depression that occurs in the first year after birth. The condition affects more than one in ten women—and it can affect partners too. Adapting to parent life can take time, and many new parents feel emotional in the first few weeks. But postnatal depression lasts much longer and can cause symptoms including: 

  • Problems bonding with the baby 
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Concentration problems 
  • Worrying thoughts (e.g. about harming the baby)
  • A loss of enjoyment in things you normally enjoy

You can find more information and support in our blog: How to cope with postnatal depression 

 

Staying strong despite the challenges 

International Women’s Day is all about empowering women and celebrating their achievements. So we must take this time to also acknowledge the sheer strength, courage, and determination of the many women battling with these challenges.

Inspirational women across the world have offered us many snippets of wisdom over the years, so let’s take some advice from them:

 

"There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish." - Michelle Obama

 

“I am thankful for my struggle because, without it, I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength." Alex Elle

 

“We need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead." Beyoncé

 

“I found that ultimately if you truly pour your heart into what you believe in — even if it makes you vulnerable — amazing things can and will happen.” Emma Watson 

 

Women's mental health support from Health Assured 

Health Assured offer industry-leading mental health support via our Employee Assistance Programme Helpline. Our helpline is available 24/7, 365, we're here, whenever you need us. 

If you'd like to get in touch about our Employee Assistance Programme please call one of our wellbeing experts on: 

UK: 0844 892 2493 

ROI: 01 886 0324 

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