In America, one in three people is suffering from a mental illness. Unfortunately, this rate is a lot higher in women. Recent studies have found that women are 40% more likely to develop depression than men. They are also more likely to have post-traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders. Many people dismiss this, saying women are simply more “emotional” then men. This is not the truth, however. Healthcare professionals are not sure why mental illness affects women more than men.
Women are more likely to have stressful experiences and are more likely to feel pressured to take on many roles in society: the role of wife, mother, employee, etc. Women are also more likely to experience trauma than men. One in four women has experienced sexual assault in their lives.
Discrimination is also a real problem that can increase the likelihood of women developing mental illness. Research has shown that women don’t get paid as much as men and that they have to work harder to get the same credit as men. These are common issues that all women face.
Hormonal issues may also lead to greater rates of mental illness in women. Both men and women can have hormonal imbalances, however, women can tend to produce less serotonin than men. Serotonin deficiency is often linked with depression as well as anxiety, and this is something that many women are dealing with.
It’s also likely that women are reporting mental health issues more often than men as there is a pressure for men to be “tougher”. While one in four women seeks depression treatment at some point, only one in ten men seeks treatment for depression.
There is more research to be done in this field, but it’s important to understand that the issues that women are struggling with are very real.