Women's mental health

Women's mental health

05 March 2021

Many factors contribute to our mental wellbeing. As we approach International Women’s Day, our Psychologists explore the most common to impact women's mental health.

International Women’s Day is dedicated to honouring the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women throughout history and across the globe. It is celebrated on 8 March every year. It is used to celebrate tech women and innovation, applaud equality for women in sport, build inclusive workplaces, increase visibility of women creatives, forge women’s empowerment worldwide and educate women on health (physical and mental) choice decisions. 

The most common diagnosis for women are anxiety disorders followed by depression. 

Social factors

A range of social factors may contribute to women’s higher rates of anxiety and depression, all of which generally relate to gender, impacting women more than men. These include:

  • High levels of socioeconomic disadvantage and poverty
  • Lower income and lower participation in the paid workforce
  • Higher exposure to discrimination and harassment, intimate partner and sexual violence
  • The burden of caring responsibilities

Risk and protective factors

A range of risk and protective factors are thought to influence mental health and wellbeing. These factors may be individual, contextual or the result of the interaction between a woman and her environment.

Some risk factors may act as immediate precursors to the development of a mental illness. These may include:

  • Bereavement
  • Relationship breakdown
  • Removal from family and social supports
  • Being in a carer role
  • Unemployment
  • Gender disadvantage and exposure to intimate-partner violence
  • Biological predisposition, onset of onset of menses and teen years, pregnancy, postpartum, perimenopause
  • Adverse childhood events, including deprivation and abuse.

Protective factors reduce the likelihood that an illness may develop.

Maintaining mental health

Some of the environmental and social protective facts that are important for maintaining mental health include:

  • Good interpersonal relationships (for example, having a supportive relationship with at least one person; having good perceived social support).
  • Family cohesion (for example, good parent-child, inter-sibling and parent-parent relationships)
  • Academic and/or sporting achievements
  • Economic security and employment
  • Access to support services.

Some of the biological and psychological protective factors for maintaining mental health include:

  • An effective coping skills repertoire (for example having social skills and problem-solving skills)
  • Positive sense of self
  • Good physical health

Who can help?

There are plenty of effective treatments for mental health disorders. While some women may just need to get help from one particular type of health care professional, other women may benefit from seeing various people for different aspects of their treatment.

If you would like to book an appointment to address your psychological or physical health please call 1300 4 62 837 to book an appointment with a psychologist or exercise physiologist.

Written by Mates4Mates psychologist Tamsin Wallace

  • Community
  • Mental health

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