There are multiple studies, theories, and opinions given as to why women and men differ in symptoms and consequences to mental health that they experience. Today I wanted to bring to light a handful of current statistics that demonstrate the difference women and men face in the world of mental illness. The question I want to ask is why do you think these statistics are true? What environmental, situational, genetic or other factors could be the cause of the differences or similarities? I have my own opinions, but I would like to open up the discussion. By discussing topics such as these, it helps to bring awareness and a feeling of equality to all diagnoses and genders who may experience similar symptoms. These statistics are of course not exclusive and vary based on many different factors. The statistics that I have researched and gathered below are based on global statistics, unless otherwise specified to a certain region/country. Take a look, you might be surprised:
- Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
- Men are more likely to commit suicide – in the UK alone, 6,233 suicides were recorded of which 78% were male and 22% female. However, women attempt suicide more than men.
- Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under 35 years old.
- 41.9% of women experience depressive disorders compared to 29.3% of men.
- Men and women are equally likely to develop bipolar disorder.
- In women, symptoms of schizophrenia appear in the early 20’s.
- 8.7% of men are alcohol dependent compared to 3.3% of women.
- Only 36% of men referred to outpatient psychiatric therapy follow through to attend.
- Men commit 86% of violent crime – (arguably to due mental illness according to the website – however this is a debate for another time and does not reflect my opinion – I just wanted the statistic to be included.)
Again, reasons for the onset and likelihood of mental illness and the differences between genders largely depends on risk factors such as –
- Childhood = the situations one has had to overcome as well as the responsibility delegated to them
- Genetics = the reflection of one’s parents and ‘family tree’ in the biological development of that person. It is known that a person is more likely to develop a mental illness if their parents are diagnosed with one.
- Life events/trauma = what a person has had to face in their lifetime, such as rape, abuse, family trauma, homelessness, grief, etc.
- The use of substances can induce mental illness and long-term psychotic features.
- Having a support system.
- Willingness to receive professional help when needed.
- Ongoing physical health problems, such as chronic diabetes or a work injury that can lead to hopelessness or depression.
What do you think are reasons that gender plays a role in mental health? Think about it…why aren’t symptoms the same for everyone? Which risk factors listed above do you think are the biggest influencers and why? What are some other reasons/factors you may have come up with? Thank you all for participating in an important discussion that aims to lift the stigma of mental health between men and women and shed light to the causes/reasons behind the difference – as well as to inform the community that there is in fact a difference and to end judgment to those effected the most by certain diagnoses. Not everyone experiences mental health the same way!!