A shocking infographic about mental health in women. (Photo Credit)
According to a study from the World Health Organization, doctors are more likely to diagnose depression in women than men, even if they score the same on the diagnosis scale. Not bad, right? Not so fast! Doctors are also more likely to prescribe mind-altering drugs to women than to men, keeping the myth alive that women are "crazy", instead of focusing on the fact that as a woman in today's society, her feelings of sadness or anger could be appropriate - and understandable - responses to life's difficulties. (But make no mistake - if you are having many symptoms of the depression, go see a doctor!)
To make matter worse, some women of different ethnic backgrounds even have trouble getting the help they need because of the stereotypes that are flowing through our society. According to one interview I saw, an African American woman was barred from her church because she was diagnosed with a mental illness. She was even arrested (because the police didn't believe that she had a mental illness). Once at the police station, the officers thought she was "on drugs" or "drunk" and left her in cell for sixteen hours!
Even though women are known to be strong, some who suffer from mental health problems are ashamed to say, "I have this [mental health issue] and this is who I am!" for fear of being ridiculed, embarrassed, or even shunned. The media (and society, for that matter) has forever perpetuated the myth that women suffer from some sort of "madness disease" that only affects women or even bringing up the stereotypes of women of color in today's society.
How can we change the way society - and the medical field - looks at mental health in women?