International Women's Day: Mental Health
One in eight men are affected by a mental health problem.
For women, it's one in five.
At this point, we know that all of us as beings have mental health. But what exactly causes the disparity between men and women? Is it genetics or the environment or social stigma?
Before I present to you my research, let me preface this article by saying that countless of macro and micro factors affect both gender and mental health separately. Examples of these are psychosocial (personality, coping mechanisms), cultural, social, and economic factors.
This one's a little long, but bear with me here – it's important. Here's a brief summary on the gender studies that have been done on mental health:
An example would be childbirth and the process of recovery; which doesn't only include the healing of their physical organs but the healing of their mental state  . Oftentimes, women are prone to postnatal depression, a severe side effect and mental illness that doesn't get talked about enough. Studies  have also shown that it's tedious for women to get professional help for postnatal depression, which affects women's relationships, functional status, and her ability to care for her infant  .
Additionally, women tend to act inward as opposed to men, who tend to act outward. This refers to suppression  women are used to when it comes to emotions, a habit that leads to anxiety disorders – such as panic disorders, OCD, post-traumatic disorders, social phobia, and generalised anxiety disorder. Women are also more likely to develop PTSD after trauma, and are believed to have more persistent symptoms .
Why am I telling you all this, you might wonder.
There is a need to identify and understand these mental illnesses, then work together as a community to increase the accessibility we have to help. We need to normalise the uncomfortable and we need to collectively understand that vulnerability is not a weakness.
A mental illness is as grave as a physical illness – even I myself am having trouble convincing my loved ones the importance of mental wellness.
There's only hope that we can shed more light on what others need to hear, what we can know to change.
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