The Intersection of Gender and Mental Health
Mental health is an important aspect of everyone’s life that influences how well a person functions in their everyday life. It is an often overlooked area of health and wellness and for this reason, many people suffer from untreated mental health illnesses or disorders. However, the fact is that mental health does not affect everyone equally. In fact, it has been shown to intersect with many different identities, such as gender.
The Gender Gap in Mental Health
Though men and women have much in common when it comes to mental health, there are some distinct differences between the two genders. Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression or anxiety when compared to their male counterparts. Women are also more likely to experience symptoms of depression or anxiety on a daily basis, whereas men tend to experience sudden and extreme moments of distress.
The Reasons Behind the Gender Gap
When attempting to understand why there is a gender gap in mental health, many different factors must be taken into consideration. These include:
- Social Expectations: Society places certain expectations and pressures on men and women that can have an effect on their mental health. Women are more likely to be expected to fit traditional domestic roles, while men are expected to be emotionally distant and assertive.
- Access to Care: Women have historically had less access to mental health services and treatment than men. In addition, women are often more likely to be seen as weaker and unable to cope with mental health issues.
- Stigma: Mental health issues are still stigmatized in many cultures and societies, creating a barrier for those seeking help. People of both genders can feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help, but the stigma is often greater for men, who are often taught to “tough it out”.
Creating Better Mental Health Outcomes
For men and women to enjoy better mental health outcomes, it is necessary to address the gender disparities that exist. This can be done by ensuring that all individuals, regardless of gender, have access to quality mental health services and treatment. By treating mental health as a serious issue and encouraging people to seek help, we can create a world where everyone has access to the care they need to live a healthy and happy life.