Mental illness is a growing conversation as people are emerging into a more accepting environment, but the causes and social factors that contribute to them are still frequently looked over. Gender doesn’t greatly affect mental illness statistics by itself, but taking social interactions into count, drastic differences are made clear. Between men and women, the causes and visible symptoms of mental illnesses can differ in ways that aren’t usually considered.
News Medical-Life Sciences elaborates how the difference is rooted to be produced from social conventions;” People have similar ideas about what behavior is acceptable for men and women and continually engage in establishing a perception of gender difference during social encounters…Emotional expression, health care, and asking for help are all framed as feminine traits. Men are expected to be emotionally stable and have a strong, independent, and self-reliant demeanor.” The American Psychiatric Association (APA) supports this by noting important differences in seeking help by gender. In conclusion, women tend to get diagnosed more even if they show the same symptoms as men. This can be credited to the way society portrays women as more emotional and vulnerable, even if it is the same in men.
Statistics by the APA also show that women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). But this isn’t only because men don’t get diagnosed, but instead a disproportionate experience of risk factors. Some mental health issues can stem from financial, workload, and home-violence problems. The gender pay gap leaves women working longer hours than men yet being paid less. Poverty levels are higher amongst women as well, where ages 18-64 are 14.2% for females and 10.5% for men as of 2017. Stereotypes in everyday life have very clear effects on mental illnesses, whether it be the assumption of men being strong and stable all the time or the systemic issues women face.
Mental health disparities: Women’s mental health – psychiatry.org. (n.d.). Retrieved July 16, 2022, from https://www.psychiatry.org/File%20Library/Psychiatrists/Cultural-Competency/Mental-Health-Disparities/Mental-Health-Facts-for-Women.pdf
The gender gap in Mental Health. News. (2022, January 31). Retrieved July 16, 2022, from https://www.news-medical.net/health/The-Gender-Gap-in-Mental-Health.aspx
Depression in women. Mental Health America. (n.d.). Retrieved July 16, 2022, from https://www.mhanational.org/depression-women