Women and Mental Health

Women and men have the same risk to develop mental problems but some mental problems are more prevalent in women than in men. There are a lot of social factors that put women at higher risks to have poor mental health. But women are more willing to talk about their problems and feelings and they have a stronger sense of social network to help guard their mental well-being.

Guardians of family health

Women are as busy as men but it is always a very important thing to safeguard their mental health. Women are responsible for keeping the family’s health in check. Women have a big influence on what her family eats or how her family deals with problems. Women are put on a spot where they need to make important decisions for themselves as well as for their family. Their guidance helps their family from being exposed to problems or worries.

Women as carers

Majority of the carers are women. Caregivers who are women have 23% more chance to suffer from anxiety and depression than other women in the population. This is a result of a survey done in England. Almost 75% of caregivers for patients with mental problems are women and their average age is 62 years old.

Mental health and women in their mid-life

Women who are 45-60 years old may be caring for their children and some older relatives. They may also be working and are themselves facing some physical health illness. They may also be burdened with financial problems due to situations like being divorced, working part-time or being paid low for their jobs. These events put them at a higher risk of becoming mentally distressed.

Social support

The friends women make are mostly women themselves. This network of friendship helps them to have support to aid them in maintaining their mental well-being. Women talk about their feelings and problems than men. Women are likely to tell someone that they are in trouble and that the need help. They often confide to someone whom they are very close to. A good social group or support prevents mental problems and also helps patients recover from any illness.

Women's mental health

Women and men have equal chances of having mental problems but some mental problems are more prevalent in women than in men. Almost 29% of women are likely to be treated for mental problem as oppose to 17% of men. This statistic shows how many women are willing to seek help from their problems and to get supported. Around 25% of people who commit suicide are women. This relatively low number is indicative of how women are more emotionally stable to talk about their problems. Mothers are also less likely to commit suicide. Women are put at a much higher risk because of the position they play in their family and in society. The following are social factors that affect women’s susceptibility to mental problems:

  • Women are the main carers for children and other dependent relatives. Caring intensively can affect their physical and emotional health as well as their social relations with other people.
  • Women do more tasks than men like being a mother, carer, partner and working for a paid job. Women also run the household.
  • Women are more likely to live in poverty due to their low paying jobs and low income situations.
  • Being isolated when women have to work in the house and personal concerns.
  • Being sexually and physical abused is one of the reasons why women suffer from mental problems.

Mental problems affecting women than men

A number of women may find it difficult to talk about their problems and feelings. This will make them more susceptible to having mental problems and eating and depression disorders. If this is the case, some of them may resort to self-harm or hurt other people.


There are more women who suffer from depression. One out of four women will need treatment as compared to one out of ten men. The reasons why women are more susceptible to depression remains unclear but some experts attribute it to hormonal imbalance and social factors like poverty. Post-natal depression (PTSD) affects 8-15% of new mothers. PTSD is different from ‘baby blues’ which last for just a few days and is very common. Physical illness of losing someone they love can also cause depression.

The elderly are at a higher risk of getting depression. About 20% of the elderly living in their homes is depressed, while 40% who live in the care homes get affected. The majority of these patients are women and those who are beyond the age of 45 are at a much higher risk. Women’s life expectancy is higher than men so they will outlive their partners and tend to live in care homes.


More women do self-harm than men. Self-harm is means of how people deliberately harm themselves. They do this in secret to deal with their problems. It usually involves burning, cutting, scalding or scratching themselves. They may also pull their hair, break their bones or swallow toxic substances. Studies say that one out of twelve and one out of fifteen young people do self-harm in UK.


Women are more likely to have anxiety disorders because around 60% of the patients with obsessive compulsive and phobia disorders are women. Phobias are experienced by 22 out of 1,000 women as oppose to 13 out of 1,000 men in UK.


Dementia develops 20% in people over 80 years old and around 5% for those people aged 65. Half of these patients suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and about 5% of them are developed through vascular dementia. Vascular dementia occurs after a stroke. About 2/3 of these people who suffer from dementia are women.

Eating disorders

This is more prevalent in women than in men. Young women tend to develop this more. About 1.9% who have eating disorders are women while only 0.2% are men. These people also tend to suffer from anorexia. Around 0.5-1% of women have bulimia at least once in their life.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

More women have PTSD because women experience sexual abuse more than men. Women have 20.4% of developing PTSD after a traumatic event while men only have 8.1%.