posted on March 20, 2022 | Author Dr Bhavna Barmi
Women have important responsibilities to play in our society. In the social, political, economic, cultural and religious fields, their contributions are widely recognized. When they have effective skills and abilities in these areas, then they are able to render their involvement effectively. Women should also raise awareness of the factors that influence their engagement, in addition to their skills and abilities. Adequate knowledge of these aspects allows them to overcome obstacles that may develop during the role play. In terms of contributing to the well-being of society, the importance of women is universally recognised. They contribute to the welfare of society through their jobs, for example, when they work as teachers in schools or higher education institutions, they not only earn a living for their families, but also contribute to the welfare to be part of society by transmitting information and raising awareness.
Healthy women also benefit their families and society. They are still able to take care of their families, earn a living and contribute to their community. Their health can be measured as an indicator of a country’s progress. Poverty, corruption, conflict and poor governance are all common ills that drive countries to abandon their most vulnerable people. Usually they are women. Women’s productivity suffers when they are sick, and their children and families suffer, with economic consequences. So, from both an economic and a human rights perspective, investing in women’s health makes sense.
Statistics show that women live longer than men, but can spend a greater proportion of their lives in poor health for a number of reasons, the majority of which are caused by poverty and discrimination. gender, not by innate differences. The unequal power and control of men and women over socio-economic issues affecting their mental health and well-being, as well as their social position, status and treatment in society, are all influenced by gender. It also impacts their vulnerability and exposure to certain mental health risks. There is a substantial inverse association between social status and physical and mental health outcomes. As a result, the effect of biological susceptibility is reinforced by the social disadvantages that women face. Multiple roles and an unwavering obligation to care for others puts them under pressure.
In addition, women’s mental health is affected by gender-specific risk factors such as gender-based discrimination, as well as other related issues such as poverty, hunger, malnutrition, overwork, domestic violence. and sexual abuse. The frequency and severity of these social variables are positively related to the frequency and severity of mental health disorders in women. Serious life experiences that lead to feelings of loss, inferiority, humiliation, or entrapment can also foreshadow depression.
The most common mental illness among women is depression, which contributes significantly to the global burden of disease. Rather than being an artifact of help-seeking behavior or a willingness to disclose symptoms, the higher rates of depression among women reflect a real gender difference in health. As a result, women’s access to effective mental health care is hindered by gender bias and stigma around mental health issues. Poor households may spend less on their daughters than on their sons, providing them with less food, health care and education. Because of these disadvantages early in life, girls’ health and well-being suffer long-term consequences.
Teenage motherhood, for example, which is common in cultures and civilizations that allow child marriage, poses health risks and shortens the lives of young mothers and their children. Malnourished women are more likely to give birth to low birth weight babies, who are more likely to die young and be in poor health. In countries like China and India, where there is a cultural preference for boys, women and girls suffer an additional health risk.
Dower practices, a strong patriarchal family system in which women have little voice, fewer educational opportunities, childbirth, abortion or miscarriage, financial distress and employment all contribute to the plight of women. A woman’s mental health suffers when she is subjected to all these demands and is ill-equipped to deal with them. Failure to manage women’s health, especially their mental health, has short- and long-term social and economic consequences for communities. Women’s mental health needs to be addressed holistically. Their demands varied, as did their tasks and responsibilities, and their resources were limited. Therefore, we need to focus on women’s mental health issues in particular and deal with them properly.
It is abundantly clear that women’s mental health is inextricably linked to social, political and economic challenges. A woman’s mental health must include both mental and physical well-being throughout her life, and it must go beyond the narrow perspective of reproductive and maternal health, which is usually at the center of our programs. The debate about the reasons for poor mental health in women should move away from individual risk factors and “lifestyle” and towards an understanding of the broader social, economic and legal forces that influence women’s lives. women. It is therefore crucial to understand how the societal, economic, legal, infrastructural and environmental elements that affect women’s mental health are organized within the specific community framework. If attempts to improve women’s mental health focus primarily on reducing individual “lifestyle” risk factors, they may overlook the very reasons that lifestyle exists. Moreover, focusing only on individual variables without considering societal variables risks placing the burden of change solely on women.
Women’s mental health must be promoted so that half of the human resource can contribute effectively. As women take on various responsibilities, it puts a lot of stress on them. The culture also has high expectations of women, who are constrained by socio-cultural norms and duties. It is therefore important to put in place targeted intervention measures to promote and improve the mental health of women.
Addressing women’s mental health needs includes education, training, and interventions focused on the social and physical environment. Interventions at different levels, targeting both women individually and women as a group in society, are important. These should be adopted both in basic care and in legal and judicial frameworks.
There are various reasons why women are reluctant to report assaults and abuse to the police. These include: a perception that the event is a “normal” part of life; a sense of responsibility for the violent incident; bullying by spouse; fear of reprisals; financial dependence; continued love or affection for the relationship; inability to respond to psychological and emotional damage resulting from recurrent abuse; and intimidation through the entire legal process. People working in the criminal justice system have attitudes and perspectives that are also barriers to effective response.
The Indian government’s efforts to urge citizens to report any cases of domestic violence they may have witnessed are commendable and could go a long way in ensuring the protection of women. Therefore, it is also essential to improve the criminal justice response to violence against women. The identification of key people in government departments and other relevant community organizations, as well as the collection of data and documentation revealing the extent of women’s difficulties and the burden associated with women’s mental disorders, as well as the formulation of policies to protect and promote women’s mental health, are all extremely crucial.
The education of women and girls is a more fundamental requirement. Education gives people knowledge of their rights and resources, as well as the power to fight against exploitation and injustice. Education will also improve the chances of achieving economic independence, which is important.
To promote women’s mental health and protect them from violence, the World Health Organization (WHO-A Focus on Women, 1997) has made the following recommendations:
• Accumulate knowledge on the frequency and etiology of mental health disorders in women, as well as on mediating and protective factors.
• Encourage the development and implementation of health policies that address the needs and concerns of women from infancy through old age.
• Improve the ability of primary care clinicians to diagnose and manage the mental health impacts of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and acute and chronic stress in women.
• Create technical recommendations for evidence-based prevention of intimate partner and sexual violence, as well as strengthen health care responses to this violence.
• Improve research and research capacity to evaluate domestic violence treatments.
• Disseminate information and support national initiatives aimed at strengthening women’s rights, as well as the prevention and response to domestic and sexual violence against women.
It is important to understand the specific demands and expectations of women in relation to the different jobs they hold. Accordingly, services must be created and delivered in this way. This will help reduce gender gaps in mental health diagnosis, care, access and treatment. There is an urgent need to formulate and build methods to strengthen the social status of women, eliminate gender inequalities, provide economic and political power, publicize their rights, etc.
Despite the fact that much depends on policy makers and planners, women must also learn to defend themselves. They must participate as social activists to fight the societal injustices that cause their problems. Women’s mental health can also be safeguarded and promoted through a three-pronged strategy of prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.
A historic milestone is the women’s anti-alcohol movement in Andhra Pradesh, when they burned down liquor stores to oppose their husbands’ drinking. Similar anti-prostitution, anti-sex abuse, and anti-domestic violence groups may have had historical precursors.
In summary, concentrated efforts at the social, political, economic and legal levels can bring about changes in the lives of Indian women and contribute to the development of their mental health. Additionally, a holistic strategy is essential to understanding women’s mental health and promoting it for the benefit of the entire nation.