Relationship Between Gender and Mental Health

With the advancement we have seen in the 21st century, gender is no more a secret to any of us and neither is mental health. Where gender is a social construct, mental health is more of a biological one but these two intersect at society’s most famous dialogue, “This is just a phase. You will grow past it!” In this article we will try to establish a direct relation between gender and mental health.

Millions of people all around are battling various mental health disorders but what is more grave than this is that hundreds of them suffer in silence or are exposed to an environment that makes it easy for them to develop a toxic mind. It is however relatively easy to hold an external source responsible for a bad mental health where sometimes the problem lies in the basic existence of a being.

Research shows that socially constructed differences between women and men in roles and responsibilities, status and power, interact with biological differences between the sexes to contribute to differences in the nature of mental health problems suffered, health seeking behaviour of those affected and responses of the health sector and society as a whole.

DISPARITY IN MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS AMONG GENDERS:

Both men and women are susceptible to mental health problems however, the intensity and underlying factors bring out a change in it. There are some disorders that affect one sex more than the other and the cycle keeps on changing.

Here are some statistics that represent this difference:

  • DEPRESSION: Women are more likely to suffer from depression than men irrespective of their country of origin or age. Risk factors such as traumatic experiences, gender-based roles, and stress are connected to depression. Where twice as many women suffer from depression, suicide rate is found to be higher amongst men by 4 folds in countries such as USA, China and India.
  • POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD): PTSD is developed as a reaction to a traumatic event and women are at a greater risk to suffer from it than men. According to epidemiological studies, women are two to three times more likely to develop PTSD than men. The lifetime prevalence of PTSD is estimated at about 10-12% in women and 5-6% in men. Woman generally suffer from PTSD due to sexual violence, rape and childhood sexual abuse whereas men develop it as a result of experiencing war, combat, non-sexual abuse, natural disasters, or injury.
  • EATING DISORDERS: Women constitute 85-95% of the population suffering from anorexia nervosa and bulimia, and out of those 65% suffer from binge-eating disorders. Factors that contribute to the gender disproportionality of eating disorders are perceptions surrounding “thinness” in relation to success, sexual attractiveness and social pressures from mass media. 

Besides this, the LGBTQ+ community is on the end of the spectrum as they are constantly exposed to an unhealthy ambience and shaming. Factors like stigma, prejudice, discrimination, harrassment and rejection (both from parents and society) adds to their plight. We lack proper data on the exact number of statistics and facts that can help us understand this dynamic and thus it is our imperative to support people who identify themselves as lesbians, gays, bisexuals, etc.

These are just some of the gruesome disorders that show a hard hitting disparity amongst genders. This difference should not be construed as a license for being harsh towards others. We have a long way to go on achieving stable mental health for people.

A human being should be treated with respect and compassion and we should be able to look past their gender and other social constructs that hold us back. A proper system needs to be developed that allows us to accurately identify how biological factors affect mental health and most importantly techniques should be adopted that will allow us to act as allies to someone who suffers from such problems.

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4 thoughts on “Relationship Between Gender and Mental Health

  1. Well written and informative article. It helps in understanding relationship between gender and mental health and role of the society. Great work 👍

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