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Women’s Mental Health 

Women’s Mental Health
Chapter:
Women’s Mental Health
Author(s):

Jane Fisher

, Helen Herrman

, Meena Cabral de Mello

, and Prabha S. Chandra

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199920181.003.0016
Page of

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date: 19 September 2019

From conception, the life experiences of girls and women differ from those of boys and men. These have consequences for all aspects of health, including mental health. The prevalence of the serious mental disorders of schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder is similar in women and men, but lifetime rates of common non-psychotic mental disorders are two to three times higher among women. Mental health problems in women are multifactorially determined including by structural factors and gender-based risks that are beyond individual control: unequal access to nutrition, health care, education and income-generating work; disproportionate burden of unpaid work and gender-based violence. A cross-sectoral approach in which social causes are addressed through the realization of girls’ and women’s human rights to equal social and economic participation, safety, individual autonomy and freedom from discrimination is an essential first step. In the health sector, an approach which focuses on gender-sensitive mental health promotion and evidence-informed strategies for prevention in addition to early intervention and treatment is required.

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