Women today face the challenge of trying to meet everybody else’s needs, often ignoring their own needs. They may find that they try to be the perfect wife, mother, employee, etc., and still maintain their home, social life, and physical health. As a result, women may stop engaging in adequate self-care and may end up feeling emotionally and physically exhausted. Add to these issues marital problems, behavioral problems with their children, a lack of social support, and a woman can easily end up depressed and anxious. Unfortunately, many times women turn to unhealthy coping strategies.
Depression has been called the most significant mental health risk for women, especially for younger women of childbearing and childrearing age (Glied & Kofman, 1995). Women are approximately two times more likely than men to suffer from major depression and dysthymia (Research Agenda for Psychosocial and Behavioral Factors in Women’s Health, 1996).
Other issues seen more often in women include anxiety, eating disorders, poor body image, and low self-esteem. Depression weakens the immune system and so one becomes susceptible to physical disorders. Many people will experience anxiety, depression, or relational difficulties at some point in their life. Only 20 percent who develop depression receive adequate treatment. On an average out of 3 depressed women, only one will seek professional help. The good news is that there is help! The sad news is that too many do not access the help they need.
Therapy with a well-trained therapist has lasting effect. Studies show that therapy can actually change brain neurobiology, the same goal of pharmaceutical antidepressants. Therapists work to develop healthy coping strategies, to work through and heal unhealthy belief systems set in place by painful past experiences, and to coach individuals to develop a strong, healthy support system with their family and friends. If you are someone whose struggles with depression, anxiety, or relationship issues for more than 2 weeks, please contact a local mental health practitioner with expertise in this area. Depression responds best to therapy and other treatment when it is identified early.
Women are urged to get yearly check-ups for their physical and dental health. Don’t you think that in today’s world it is time to consider if a woman’s relational, emotional, and mental health deserves a “check-up”, too?