Women’s Health Data: Mental health
Women’s mental wellbeing is multi-faceted and diverse. However, some factors that impact on mental health may be experienced only by women. These include societal and cultural divisions of labour, maternity, social connectedness, depression or other psychological health issues and their causes, such as discrimination, violence and abuse. Key statistics which demonstrate how gender impacts on women’s mental health are detailed below.
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Australian women are more likely to report a long-term mental or behavioural problem and higher levels of psychological distress than men1
In Victoria, the prevalence of very high levels of psychological distress is higher for women (3.4%) than for men (1.8%)2
Women are also more likely to seek professional help for psychological distress than men2
Women who intentionally self-harm represent 9.1% of all separations from hospital. Of these women, 41.9% are aged between 25 and 44 years, and 31.3% are aged 15 to 24 years3
Women aged 16-85 years had a higher rate of mental health disorders (22%) in the previous 12 months than men (18%)4
Australian women are almost twice as likely to experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, the most common anxiety disorder for both women and men4
Up to 9% of women will experience depression during pregnancy and this increases to 16% in the year following birth5
Women are more likely to have attempted suicide than men (57.5% and 44.2% respectively)6
The prevalence of psychotic disorders is lower in women (2.4 cases per 1,000) than men (3.7 cases per 1,000)6
The mean age of onset for psychotic disorders for women is 24 years6
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are twice as likely to report high or very high levels of psychological distress compared to non-Aboriginal women7
66% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women report low or moderate levels of psychological distress and 32% report high or very high levels of psychological distress7
Women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds
- Women from CALD backgrounds are particularly vulnerable to developing emotional distress or mental health disorders in the perinatal period and they often do not receive the care they need88.
Women with disabilities
Women with disability related to trauma are at higher risk of depression than women without disability9.
Almost 60% of women with disabilities report experiencing at least one stressor in the past 12 months10.
Same-sex attracted women
Lesbian women experience lower levels of sense of belonging than heterosexual women. This can be largely attributed to sexual prejudice and homophobia11.
Decreased sense of belonging is linked with depression, lower levels of self-esteem, self-worth and self-sufficiency11.
Rejection following disclosure is associated with higher rates of self-harm and suicide in same-sex attracted young people12.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. Mental Health in Australia: A Snapshot, 2004-05. Cat. no. 4824.0.55.001. ABS: Canberra; 2006 [cited 11 September 2013]. Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4824.0.55.001. ↩
- Department of Health. Victorian Population Health Survey 2010. State Government of Victoria Department of Health: Melbourne; 2012 [cited 11 September 2013]. Available from: http://www.health.vic.gov.au/healthstatus/survey/vphs2010.htm. ↩
- Kreisfeld R & Harrison JE. Hospital separations due to injury and poisoning 2005-06. Cat. No. INJCAT 131. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare; 2010 [cited 11 September 2013]. Available from: http://www.nisu.flinders.edu.au/pubs/reports/2010/injcat131.pdf. ↩
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. Gender Indicators, Australia, Jan 2013, Cat. No. 4125.0. Canberra: ABS; 2013 [cited 11 September 2013] Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/4125.0~Jan%202013~Main%20Features~Contents~1. ↩
- Beyond Blue. Clinical practice guidelines for depression and related disorders – anxiety, bipolar disorder and puerperal psychosis – in the perinatal period: A guide for primary health care professionals. Melbourne; 2011 [cited 5 November 2013] Available from: http://www.beyondblue.org.au/resources/health-professionals/clinical-practice-guidelines/perinatal-clinical-practice-guidelines. ↩
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australia’s health 2012. Australia’s health series no.13. Cat. no. AUS 156. Canberra: AIHW; 2012 [cited 5 October 2013] Available from: http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=10737422172 . ↩
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. The health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women: A snapshot, 2004-05. Cat. No. 4722.0.55.001. Canberra: ABS; 2007 [cited 4 September 2013] Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4722.0.55.001Main+Features12004-05?OpenDocument. ↩
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. Reflecting a Nation: Stories from the 2011 Census, 2012–2013. Cat. No. 2071.0. Canberra: ABS; 2013 [cited 5 November 2013] Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/allprimarymainfeatures/EB2F8382979D8F12CA257842000EC9DA?opendocument. ↩
- McDermott S, Moran R, Platt T, Dasari S. Health conditions among women with a disability. Journal of Women’s Health. 2007; 16(5): 713-720.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. General Social Survey, Victoria, 2006. Table 4 Personal characteristics, By Age – Females. Canberra: ABS; 2007 [cited 11 December 2013] Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/4159.2.55.0012006?OpenDocument. ↩
- McLaren S. The interrelations between sexual orientation, sense of belonging and dysphoria among Australian women. Women and Health. 2006; 43(3): 123-137.
- Hillier L, Jones T, Monagle M, Overton N, Gahan L, Blackman J, et al. Writing themselves in 3: the third national study on the sexual health and wellbeing of same sex attracted and gender questioning young people. Melbourne: Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society; 2010. [cited 5 November 2013] Available from: http://www.glhv.org.au/node/657. ↩
Published: February 2014
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