What do you do if you ever fall sick? It is quite simple! You go to a doctor, get yourself checked, take the prescribed medications, and eventually, you will feel better, but what happens if you are feeling mentally drained and emotionally unstable? People often take the vulnerability, pain and emotional side of a person to be his/her/their weakness, which in turn makes it even harder for them to deal with efficiently. Mental health is still considered a taboo across many parts of the world because it is believed by people that those who go to a psychiatrist or a counselor for therapy, are labelled “crazy” or “mad”. We live in a structured society that wants us to be tough and strong all the time, for example, men are told not to cry because it seems “girly”. We are not allowed to express our emotions freely and thus, it lashes out often in the wrong ways.
Being a woman in this world where male domination and patriarchy rules the system is a very difficult task. Sure we have made enormous progress but we still have a long way to go. Women are often subjected to and objectified for their bodies and emotions. It is expected from the women that they should be responsible for all the tasks like the house making, and their children, whilst also doing their jobs and societal tasks. The amount of pressure and the intensity of the situation always make it harder for them to hit a pause and take care of their health and well-being. It is equally important for women as any other person, to acknowledge and take their mental health into consideration. There are several instances; during the marriage, while birthing a child, or even during the first day of their jobs; where a woman needs to be mentally strong and emotionally supported by her loved ones.
Statistically stated as per the data of 2020 India, almost 700 women died of suicide. Women’s greater vulnerability to suicidal behaviour and increased exposure to variety of mental illnesses is likely to be due to gender-related issues or stereotypes, biological differences, and a variety of stressors present in the environment. The most common mental disorders that affect women are that of anxiety and depression. Women can face these problems differently than men and the hormonal changes can cause increased imbalance and critical conditions. Some of the common phases, where a women can be faced with such challenges are: during and after pregnancy, pre menstruation dysphoric depression and pre menopause related depression. All of these problems can be problematic for the physical and mental health of women and can disrupt their normal day to day functioning. This cases can range from mild to severe can be dealt with the proper care and guidance from a ‘Reproductive psychiatrist’.
Lack of education and support makes it harder for women in most parts of the world to even recognise the symptoms as some illness which can be treated. The most disheartening and difficult obstacle to treatment of mental disorder is the societal stigma and judgment attached to it. Women should be encouraged to talk freely and openly about their feelings with each other. Orientation programs and free group therapy sessions should be conducted to spread mental health importance and awareness amongst people. Mental health is a topic of stigma and thus, a great concern. The most effective way to help overcome this challenge is by first accepting it and understanding it ourselves first. Feelings are meant to be talked about, expressed, and shared, and women are equally entitled to them just as much as any other individual on this planet.