The Gender Gap: Women and Depression Resources
April 20, 2023
There is evidence of a gender gap when looking at women and depression. If you want to know more about women and depression, consider the following data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health.
- Women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with depression.
- Depression is more common in women whose family lives below the poverty line.
- Changes in the female hormones estrogen and progesterone during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, postpartum period, perimenopause, or menopause may all raise a woman’s risk for depression.
- Women who have had miscarriages are at higher risk for depression.
- For women, there is a link between depression and heart disease, obesity, and cancer.
- Women with depression are more likely than men with depression to have obesity.
External Stressors Widening the Depression Gender Gap
External stressors can make it difficult for women to seek help for depression. In our February 2022 expert interview with Marelin Dost, LICSW, she points out the following.
There is societal pressure and socialization for women to be caretakers, be strong, and push through feelings to complete day-to-day responsibilities. This sets up a situation where women are unable to rest or have time to take care of themselves. In a world where so much is unknown and productivity is revered, many women can suffer from mental health challenges in silence. This experience can be lonely and can begin to increase the risk for comorbidity of mental and physical health challenges. If mental health was talked about openly, many women would see they are not alone. They could find help to manage their mental health challenges.
What Family Caregivers Can Do: Resources
Family caregivers of women living with depression can actively support their loved ones in seeking care. One of the best things caregivers can do is to access resources for their mother, wife, sister, cousin, or friend. Here are some ideas.
- Read more about the data shared at the beginning of this article by visiting the US. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health website.
- Read our women’s mental health expert interview with Marelin Dost, LICSW.
- Visit the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance or the National Alliance on Mental Illness to find support groups in your loved one’s area.
- Refer the women in your life to our online screening test for depression based on the PHQ-9.
- Create a list of therapists that specialize in women’s mental health by visiting Psychology Today’s therapist finder tool. Give that list to your loved one so they can decide which therapist would be a good fit for them.