‘Generations of women are in crisis’ was the conclusion of a recent survey that found two-thirds of women suffer from mild to moderate mental health problems.
‘Millions of women are facing mental health problems and they are telling us that they are not getting the support they need’ says Penny Newman, chief executive of Platform 51, a welfare charity.
Low-self esteem, poor confidence levels and increased stress are now considered ‘common mental health disorders’, according to researchers – with girls as young as 12 suffering from depression.
‘Depressive symptoms can persist and need treatment but some women will feel that they have to keep on coping because they have all these people depending on them’ claims Louise Howard, head of women’s mental health at Kings College London.
The study also claims that we may not be dealing with our issues in the most constructive way, with 25 per cent of us regularly ‘self-medicating’ by drinking alcohol in excess.
‘Many women appear to be functioning normally or coping adequately with particularly difficult situations when in fact they are struggling to cope,’ says Newman. ‘But we identified many risky behaviours that women engaged in as a result of mental health problems, including promiscuity, drug-taking and crime’.
Depression is on track to becoming the world’s second biggest health problem after heart disease by 2020, according to the World Heath Organisation.