If you’ve read our last blog, you’re aware mental health issues in women are pretty common. This is especially true of anxiety and depression. While you may know the stats about the commonality of mental health issues in women, you still may be wondering about the “why”: why are mental health concerns so much more prevalent in women than in men?
There are several reasons women may be impacted more deeply than men when it comes to mental health concerns. These reasons can be intrapersonal, or within ourselves, interpersonal, or within a relationship, and environmental, or in our surroundings. Read below for the most common intrapersonal, interpersonal, and environmental factors that influence female mental health.
Social and Gender Norms
Social and gender norms are expectations society as a whole and people themselves put on individuals of a particular gender identity. Gender roles are both intrapersonal and environmental; they are intrapersonal as it’s up to us to interpret the meaning of gender roles, and environmental as our society influences the messages we receive about gender. Women receive more expectations than men in term of responsibilities that come with their gender - for example, women are expected to take on more of the childrearing (and are expected to have kids in the first place), most of the household chores like cooking and cleaning, and are expected to work on top of running the home. Because women are still expected to do it all, anxiety can be a result of burnout from the “on the grind” lifestyle. Additionally, not living up to one’s gender expectation can cause self-esteem issues, which is another mental health concern.
Conflict Within Relationships and Families
Men and women, on the most part, communicate differently - men communicate in a “fix the problem” mindset, and women communicate in a “get the problem on the table” mindset. In other words, women are more likely to want to use words to discuss a problem to resolution, while men are more interested in finding out how they can solve the problem and be done with it. Differences in communication style is a huge source of family conflict.
Family conflict has shown to have long-term negative impacts on physical and mental health and, you guessed it, can lead to chronic mental health concerns. As mentioned before, women may feel especially responsible for keeping the family together or child rearing. If there’s conflict in the family, this can quickly be internalized by women, leading to anxiety and depression.
A staggering 38% of women report being harassed in their place of work. Perhaps even more alarming, 58% of those women report negative consequences, such as a demotion, after reporting being harassed. Harassment in the workplace is linked to a myriad of problems - sleep issues, anxiety, depression, and other physical consequences. Additionally, losing a job or feeling forced to quit a job after a reported harassment goes sour can lead to more mental health issues; rates of anxiety and depression were higher and self-esteem was lower in unemployed individuals versus their employed counterparts.
Societal, environmental, and relational factors can combine to make an especially unsafe situation for women in regards to their mental health. If you’re a woman and experiencing mental health concerns for any reason, we’d love to talk about it. We have women on staff prepared to not only validate your experience but give you coping tools to help ease your anxiety, depression, or other health concerns. Reach out to us today to schedule your free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!
Higher Life Pathways Counseling Services
1800 Diagonal Road, Suite 600 Alexandria, VA 22314
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (571) 946-8115