Women Matters Matter – Mental Health Issues Concerning Women
It’s that time of the year. It’s March! And it’s that time of the month. Usually when you hear a woman say “It’s that time of the month”, you know the conversation is a bit bloody. Anyway, here we are talking about the actual date i.e. March 8. Yes, it’s that time of the month when we celebrate International Women’s Day worldwide
So, how about discussing the mental health issues concerning women and specifically women to commemorate this significant date.
Although mental illness affects both men and women, women could be at a greater risk of poor mental health, due to both social as well as biological factors.
Socially, gender discrimination is the most apparent issue that promotes mental health concerns in women. Trishna works in a well-reputed organization in Kathmandu and her husband runs a small business. She is the stable bread-winner in her family. Every day after work, she goes home and fixes dinner for the family. She does the same before leaving for work too. And now, her in-laws are asking her when they would start a “family”, meaning when she will be ready to be a “mother”. Nobody asks her husband the question.
Sheetal is 17 and she had been struggling with her weight since adolescence. She was never overweight and yet her friends and family had labeled her “Motti”. Last year she was diagnosed with Anorexia nervosa (an eating disorder). Her mission to lose weight finally paid off… or has it?
Such subtle yet explicit expectations from the society burden many Trishnas and Sheetals. Let us recall the recent #MeToo movement which was a response to the gendered harassment.
Biological factors like hormonal and reproductive health can affect women differently. Peri- and postnatal depressions affect only women; which is a result of hormonal changes around pregnancy. Women diagnosed with or surviving women specific medical illnesses like ovarian cancer, breast cancer, etc., can severely affect their mental health too.
In Nepal’s context, the fact that we are still raising voices against Chhaupadi and even the fact that it still exists – sends us back centuries in this modern world.
The mental illnesses arising out of biological factors may not be in our control. However, how we help the women we love to cope with such illnesses is totally up to us. We can create a safe space for each woman to feel comfortable and secure to speak about their mental health which could be a result of physical conditions.
Therefore, this March 8, let us not forget how each of us could contribute to women’s health. While doing so, let us also ponder if we have discriminated against any woman unconsciously. Let us ask ourselves, in 2020, are we doing enough to assuage such discrimination?
To know about how Selena Gomez didn’t give up on herself despite being diagnosed with anxiety and depression: Look At Her Now!
Let us be more alert and aware of the conscious and unconscious discrimination happening against women around us.