Women’s physical health, wellbeing, and mental health
One of the great privileges of having worked with people over the years is to gain an understanding of the triggers that affect their physical health, wellbeing, and mental health. In our work with women, we’ve noticed some trends:
The weight of expectations - whether they are social, cultural, externally- or self-imposed… trying to live up to these expectations can often lead to significant stress and poorer mental health
The juggling and mental load we see, where women are often faced with balancing their career with studies, housework, child rearing, caring for extended family, and the running of the household
Identity shifts across the lifespan, from starting to understand your place in the world as a child, through to multiple identity shifts throughout life as roles change (caregiver, worker, friend, partner, parent, daughter). Identity shifts are also influenced by biology (from menarchy through to menopause).
Body image and self-esteem issues in response to society’s obsession with appearance (thanks to media and social media)
Engagement in social comparison, related to a need to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ and a serious case of FOMO (a fear of missing out)
Is it any wonder that we’re seeing some concerning patterns in women’s wellbeing and mental health?:
Around 15% of women reported experiencing high or very high levels of psychological distress (particularly so for those in the 18-24 years and the 55-64 years age groups).
Mental health: Around 15% of women have an anxiety-related condition and around 10% have had depression or feelings of depression
Concerning trends in alcohol use, particularly the proliferation of “Wine O’Clock” and commonplace drinking for women in the 40-49, and 50-59 year age brackets as a way of relieving the pressures of the day. Indeed, women in their 50s are most likely to drink at risky levels.
You can read more about this in our Women’s Manual for Good Mental Health (scroll down).
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO IMPROVE WOMEN’S HEALTH OUTCOMES?
There is a lot that can be done to improve the wellbeing and mental health of women. Here are some things from our Toolkit for Good Mental Health (you can learn more about it in our Women’s Manual for Good Mental Health (scroll down):
Clarify your purpose. Streamline your life by working out what’s important to you.
Declutter and purge the non-essentials in your life.
Focus and stay on track with your streamlined routine.
Add some mindset magic to help you manage all types of situations
Rebalance your life to include time to yourself
Live a healthy lifestyle as good physical health supports good mental health
Learn emotion-regulation skills to help you navigate more calmly through ups and downs
GRAB THE WOMEN’S MANUAL FOR GOOD MENTAL HEALTH
Grab the Women’s Manual for Good Mental Health here. In this 17-page manual you’ll find information on:
Statistics about women’s wellbeing and mental health
The unique challenges facing women across the lifespan
Understanding the mental load, or the ‘struggle of the juggle’
Looking at how social comparison contributes to unrealistic expectations of self and poor wellbeing
Taking a Mental Health Check Up (the K10 which measures psychological distress)
Developing a plan for change using the Toolkit for Good Mental Health (including a Resource List)
The Anatomy of a Healthy Female Body, and the Anatomy of a Healthy Female Mindset
Andrews, G., & Slade, T. (2001). Interpreting scores on the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10). Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 25, 494-497.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2009). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 4326.0, 2007. ABS: Canberra.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2018). National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-2018, 4364.0.55.001. ABS: Canberra
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2017). National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016: detailed findings. Drug Statistics series no. 31. Cat. no, PHE 214. Canberra: AIHW.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2018). Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia 2018. Cat. no. FDV 2. Canberra: AIHW.
Department of Health, (2002) . The Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10). Govt of South Australia. https://health.adelaide.edu.au/pros/docs/reports/br200214_k10.pdf
Kessler, R.C., Barker, P.R., Colpe, L.J., Epstein, J.F., Gfroerer, J.C., Hiripi, E., Howes, M.J., Normand, S.L.T., Manderscheid, R.W., Walters, E.E., and Zaslavsky, A.M. (2003). Screening for serious mental illness in the general population. Archives of General Psychiatry, 60(2), 184-189.
Takeda, Y. (2010). Understanding the Life Stages of Women to Enhance Your Practice. Japanese Medical Association Journal, 53,273-278. (translated text from https://www.med.or.jp/english/journal/pdf/2010_05/273_278.pdf).
Walters, V. (2004). The Social Context of Women's Health. BMC Womens Health, 4(Suppl 1):S2. doi: 10.1186/1472-6874-4-S1-S2