How is mental health different in women?

How is mental health different in women?

Women are at greater risk than men to be diagnosed with mental health due to some social and economic factors. These mental conditions include; anxiety, depression, and an eating disorder. Women are also affected by cultural expectations and hormonal changes. 

For a long time, women’s mental health issues have been neglected. This has made it difficult to understand women’s mental health issues. Researchers and mental health experts still cannot understand how hormones influence moods and emotional well-being. This is because some years ago, researchers were not required to include women in their studies. In addition, the health fraternity has not put enough measures and resources into women’s mental health.

Social and cultural expectations affect women’s emotional well-being exposing them to mental health conditions.  

Despite all that, women find it easier to talk about their emotions than men. This is great because they have a social network and they can get help to protect their mental health. 

The following are some of the challenges that put women at a greater risk to be diagnosed with mental disorders than men. 

  • Perfectionist and people-pleasing behaviour

Women are expected to be nice, sweet, and excellent. They are also supposed to take care of everyone’s well-being at home and in the community. Women sacrifice their freedom to put others first. Besides, the current world demands women to excel in their careers and meet the financial needs of their families. Juggling work, kids, and housework is a struggle and overwhelming. All this is expected to be done flawlessly. 

These expectations cause burnout and exhaustion, which leads to mental health issues. 

Besides, as they take care of others they may feel socially isolated since they don’t have a lot of time to network. The isolation can lead to stress and anxiety. 

Women feel they are responsible for others, they will carry their burdens while no one is there to care for them. They do that to please others because they feel that is what is expected from them. They care so much about their husband and kid’s happiness but forget about their pleasure because they want to impress and make everyone around them comfortable. Trying to be perfect and please everyone causes stress, anxiety, and depression. 

  • Overworking and Overthinking

Women try hard to outdo themselves. With so many roles to play and expectations, it is easy to overwork. Our modern lives are also so demanding. We don’t take time to slow down and check if what we are doing is of benefit. They say that a woman has the capabilities to multitask, but this affects their mental well-being. 

Study shows that Women’s brains work differently from men’s. They are more analytical and intuitive thinking. So as women think, they personalize situations by assuming they are responsible for instance, someone’s in a bad mood. This will make them feel guilty and try to make that person happy. They also like to imagine the worst possible outcome, these are unhealthy thought patterns that contribute to mental health disorders.

When women are isolated and can’t find a way to talk about their feelings, they tend to internalize them. This leads to depression, eating disorders, and self-harm. For men, they act out their feelings by engaging in disruptive and anti-social behaviours. 

  • Hormonal Changes

The many hormonal changes that women go through can make them vulnerable to mental health issues. From puberty, a woman experiences a lot of hormonal changes. These hormonal fluctuations come with monthly menses, pregnancy, and menopause. 

Menopause for instance causes mood swings, anxiety, and feeling low which affects the mental health of a woman. 

Several factors contribute to women’s mental health issues and some are inevitable. As a woman, practising some healthy self-care routines can bring in significant benefits to your mental well-being. Ensure you eat a well-balanced meal, take some exercises, get enough sleep, and talk out your feelings to maintain mental wellness.



Charity Nyambura is an advocate of women's wellness and a voice for gender equality. She graduated from Egerton University with a Degree in Gender and Development studies.

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