Women ages 18+ who report experiencing symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder during the majority of the past 7 days.
Anxiety is excessive worry and fear, while depression is a deep and persistent feeling of sadness and hopelessness. Both conditions affect a person’s daily life and can be treated with professional help and support.
While all people feel worried or down from time to time, depressive and anxiety disorders can severely impair a person’s ability to carry on with their normal, daily life.
Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with both making it an especially important issue for women’s health. The inequity is linked to biological, social, and cultural factors that cause higher distress in women.
Changes in hormone levels throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle and reproductive life probably play a large role, and women are especially prone to depression after giving birth (see Postpartum Depression).
Major risk factors for both anxiety and depression include Adverse Childhood Experiences (see ACEs Reported), sexual and domestic violence (see Sexual Violence, Intimate Partner Violence), all of which women are more likely to have experienced.
Poverty, homelessness, and incarceration also increase the likelihood that someone struggles with anxiety and/or depression (see Female Incarceration, Women Experiencing Poverty, Women Experiencing Homelessness).
While many still don’t take anxiety and depression as seriously as physical health concerns, the data show that women living with these conditions are at greater risk of developing heart disease and substance abuse issues and are more likely to attempt suicide than those without.
Despite the seriousness of mental disorders, appropriate screening and care remain hard to come by – especially for women who are poor, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and/or Black, Brown, or Indigenous.
Uninsured women are just over half as likely to have discussed mental health issues with a provider than those with health insurance. Black and Asian women are less likely than their white counterparts to touch on psychological well-being during a visit.
When women do report needing mental health support, they don’t always get it. Nationally, only half of women ages 18-64 who felt they needed mental health services in the last two years obtained an appointment.
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