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Women & Mental Health

Women & Mental Health

It’s important to remember that gender isn’t binary. However, people who identify as women—regardless of their assigned sex at birth—can experience particular mental health challenges due to societal expectations, cultural norms, discrimination, and trauma.

Men and women struggle with many of the same mental health conditions, but they tend to experience them differently. Women often face obstacles in getting help and require different treatments than what would typically be recommended for men.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to higher rates of anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in women, as well as more emotional and behavioral problems in young girls. The increase in mental health issues is even more dramatic—two to three times higher—for women who were already facing challenges such as food insecurity, interpersonal violence, unstable housing, and lack of access to public services.

How does being a woman affect mental health?

Because everyone experiences gender differently, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Being a woman can be a source of strength and pride. It can also mean facing gender-based discrimination or violence.

Countless factors affect women’s mental health, and each woman’s experience is unique. But in general, physiology, identity, and cultural norms are major influences.