While significant progress has been made in the last century to improve women’s quality of life, we still have a ways to go to close the gender gap, an issue that impacts a variety of health markers for women today. It may or may not be surprising, then, to learn that women are nearly twice as likely as men to experience a mental health condition in their lifetime.

Certain mental health disorders are more prevalent in women than men. Understanding the dynamics that cause these inequities can be immensely helpful when working to navigate or overcome mental health challenges for women. While further research is needed to more accurately determine the underlying causes of these disparities, it is probable that many of these issues stem from a complex web of challenges that women experience.

Gender inequality is still a prevalent issue worldwide, manifesting in concerns like food insecurity, a lack of education, wage disparities, a greater likelihood of being a victim of violence, and more experiences of adversity. Additionally, women’s unique physiology, including hormonal influence and pregnancy/postpartum changes, also has an effect on a woman’s overall mental state.

Here at Plus by APN, we’re passionate about supporting female mental wellness. Join us as we delve into ten key facts about women’s mental health and explore effective treatment options to help close the gap. By shedding light on the nuances of women’s health, we can work to better support women as they strive for equilibrium and mental wellness.

Hormonal Influences Increase the Likelihood of Mental Health Symptoms

Hormonal fluctuations, such as those that occur during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause, can significantly impact a woman’s mental health. Conditions like premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) – characterized by severe mood changes before menstruation – highlight the connection between hormonal changes and mental well-being. PMDD can cause a host of psychological symptoms, including:

  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Forgetfulness
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Lack of control

Women Have Higher Rates of Depression Than Men

One of the mental health outcomes of a woman’s hormonal influences is the greater likelihood of experiencing depression than men. In fact, women are twice as likely to experience depression. The reasons for this gender difference are multifaceted and involve biological, hormonal, and psychosocial factors. Women may also face unique stressors, such as societal expectations, caregiving responsibilities, and the impact of gender-based violence, which can all contribute to higher rates of depression.

Depression Is the Leading Mental Health Issue for Women Worldwide

Not only are women experiencing higher rates of depression than men, but depression is also a primary mental health concern for women worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is the leading mental health issue for women and one of the most common causes of death in women under 60.

Anxiety Disorders Are More Common in Women Than Men

Depression isn’t the only mental health condition affecting women disproportionately. From puberty until about age 50, a woman is twice as likely to experience anxiety than a man. Biological factors, such as hormonal fluctuations and differences in brain chemistry, as well as psychosocial factors, such as societal pressures and life events, can contribute to the higher prevalence of anxiety disorders in women.

Anorexia and Bulimia Affect Women Significantly More Than Men

Mental health disparities between men and women don’t stop after depression and anxiety. Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, are known to disproportionately affect women, as well. In fact, approximately 85%-95% of people diagnosed with anorexia or bulimia are women.

Societal pressures regarding body image and beauty standards can contribute to the development of eating disorders. Therefore, it’s important to address these societal influences and promote body positivity to support women’s mental health.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is Twice as Likely in Women

Women are more likely to experience PTSD than men, as much as two to three times as likely. This is often the result of higher exposures to trauma, such as sexual assault, domestic violence, or childhood abuse. The effects of trauma on mental health are profound, and addressing trauma through therapy and support is crucial for recovery.

Women Face Unique Mental Health Challenges During Pregnancy and Postpartum

As if previous disparities weren’t enough, hormonal shifts during pregnancy and postpartum have been linked to conditions like postpartum depression and anxiety. About 10% of pregnant women and 13% of postpartum women experience a perinatal-related mental health condition. This can have a significant impact on new mothers, affecting both their well-being as well as their children’s. Early detection and intervention are crucial for maternal mental health during this sensitive time.

Women Who Experience Poverty Are at Greater Risk for Developing a Mental Health Condition

A clear link has been found between a woman’s mental health and her relationship to the poverty line. In fact, women experiencing poverty are nearly twice as likely to face poor mental health outcomes than women living above the poverty line. This critical relationship highlights the need to better support women in their socioeconomic endeavors.

Roughly Half of Women Experiencing Mental Health Issues are Victims of Abuse

Evidence shows that roughly half of women experiencing a mental health condition are victims of abuse. Understanding the intersection of mental health and abuse is crucial for providing comprehensive support to affected individuals.

The lasting impact of abuse on mental well-being emphasizes the need for trauma-informed care and specialized interventions. By addressing the underlying trauma and fostering a safe environment, mental health professionals can play a vital role in helping female survivors navigate their healing journey.

Women Are More Likely To Receive Treatment for Their Mental Health Than Men

While it can feel discouraging to learn about all of the adversities women face when it comes to mental health, it should also feel hopeful to learn that women are more likely to seek help and treatment from a mental health professional. The first step to getting better is understanding there’s a problem and seeking help. Therefore, it stands to reason that there’s an incredible chance we can make things better for women over time.

Effective Mental Health Options for Women

Recognizing the unique mental health challenges faced by women, it’s essential to explore effective treatment options in order to work towards bridging the gap and better supporting women in our lifetime. The important thing to remember is that individual needs may vary. Therefore, a tailored blend of traditional and/or alternative approaches should be considered.

Traditional Mental Health Therapies

Talk therapy can provide a safe space for women to explore their thoughts and emotions, develop coping strategies, and gain support. Rates of psychotherapy participation by women have been on the rise, with a nearly 5% increase over a recent ten year period. In 2021, roughly a quarter of U.S. women received some form of counseling for their mental health.

In some cases, medication, such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications, may also be prescribed to help manage symptoms. Still, medications aren’t always effective as they don’t typically address the underlying issues of a mental health disorder.

Alternative Mental Health Therapies

Plus by APN recognizes that each individual, and woman, has a unique story to tell. We believe in the power of community and shared experiences, which is why we use a combination of traditional therapies (medication management, individual psychotherapy, and group therapy) and alternative therapies to treat the whole person.

We have seen great success with previously treatment-resistant patients who try our holistic approaches to mental health, such as ketamine-assisted therapy, Deep TMS, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, neurofeedback, and stellate ganglion block. We know that complex issues are going to require unique and personalized solutions.

Supporting Women’s Mental Health

Women’s mental health is a complex and multifaceted topic. Still, understanding the prevalence of mental health conditions in women, the unique challenges they face, and effective treatment options is crucial for promoting and improving overall mental wellness.

It’s important for women to prioritize their mental health, seek support when needed, and work collaboratively with healthcare professionals to develop personalized and effective care plans. By fostering awareness, reducing stigma, and promoting accessible mental health resources, we can contribute to a society that supports the mental well-being of women. This undoubtedly has a ripple effect on the well-being of others.

Seeking help is a sign of strength, and every woman deserves the opportunity to live a mentally healthy and fulfilling life. While we may not be able to solve all of the issues women face worldwide (yet), we can work to better support women with the challenges they are facing in the here and now.

Take the Next Step to Recovery

If you’re ready to improve your mental health, contact Plus By APN by calling 424.644.6486 or filling out our online contact form. Our experienced professionals are ready to help you live a life free from mental health challenges.


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