International Women Day: Mental health

Women are more vulnerable to mental health issues due to too many responsibilities, gender discrimination, domestic violence, and countless other factors. According to WHO, 1 in every 5 women experience some form of mental illness. 
 

Common factors that can cause women to develop mental health issues:
 

  • Mental ill-health has a strong association with domestic violence, and there has been a significant increase in levels of domestic violence over recent years.

  • Online culture and social media can place pressure on young women and impact their mental health. The report ‘#StatusOfMind’ found that when young women and girls view Facebook for only a short period of time, their body image concerns are higher compared to non-users.

  • Economic and historical dimensions. for example: young women and girls who are from a low-income background are particularly vulnerable in terms of their mental health.

  • Health conditons and hormonal changes can affect a womens mental health.

    Of course, mental health ilness can occur to any of us- regardless of our backgrounds and it is important to be able to highlight this, speak out and take action. Here's a few ideas on how to do so:

  1. Talking about your feelings isn’t a sign of weakness, but a part of taking charge of your wellbeing. Talking can be a way to cope with a problem you’ve been carrying around in your head for a while. Just being listened to can help you feel supported and less alone. And it works both ways. If you open up, it might encourage others to do the same.
     

  2. Keeping active. Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and feel better. Exercise keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy, and is also a significant benefit towards improving your mental health.
     

  3. Eating Well. Up your prebiotics and fermentable fiber intake as these are important contributors to mental health. Research has also shown that these nutrients have positive effects on reducing anxiety, depression and stabilizing levels of healthy bacteria in the gut.
     

  4. Drink sensibly. We often drink alcohol to change our mood. Some people drink to deal with fear or loneliness, but the effect is only temporary. When the drink wears off, you feel worse because of the way the alcohol has affected your brain and the rest of your body. Drinking is not a good way to manage difficult feelings.
     

  5. Keep in touch. Meet up with close or distant friends as often as possible. Face to face is great but you can also give them a call, drop them a note, or chat to them online instead. Keep the lines of communication open: it’s good for you!
     

  6. Do something you enjoy! What activities can you lose yourself in? What did you love doing in the past? Enjoying yourself can help beat stress. Doing an activity you enjoy probably means you’re good at it, and achieving something boosts your self-esteem.
     

  7. Take some "Me time". It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning your kitchen, a half-hour lunch break at work, or a weekend exploring somewhere new. A few minutes can be enough to de-stress you. Take a break.
     

  8. Ask for helpIf things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help. Your family or friends may be able to offer practical help or a listening ear. None of us are superhuman Local services are there to help you.

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International Women Day: Mental health