The Mental Health Gender Gap: Another Reason To Resent Having Ovaries
Srsly, what's the deal.
It’s no secret that one of the biggest health problems among young people is mental illness. Yep, our bodies may be fighting fit (considering how much choc we like to stuff in our faces), but it’s our minds that are becoming unwell, and they’re much harder to fix overnight.
Mental illness is no longer as hush hush. In fact, it’s getting hard to ignore. YouTubers, Instagrammers, and massive stars (e.g. Zayn Malik, Kid Cudi etc.) are increasingly revealing their own mental health issues to the world. They’re really helping to spread the word and encourage others to speak up and take action too.
Because we need to talk about it. Talking about stuff always makes it easier to manage cos struggling with something that is consuming your life all on your own is a HUGE burden.
So, more than ever, we’re hyper-aware that things like anxiety and depression exist. But did you know that girls have it worse than guys? Yep! As well as periods, giving birth and getting whistled at by middle-aged creepers, girls also have a long history of struggling with mental health more than guys!
Give us a break, wouldya?!
Way back in 1993, according to the National Study of Health and Wellbeing, women aged 16-24 were TWICE as likely to have common mental health problem symptoms compared to men that age. Then, in 2014, they were nearly THREE TIMES as likely (a whopping 26%).
Why are gals getting such a sour deal? We don’t know for sure.
A v. clever guy called Professor Daniel Freeman (who’s studied mental health and released a book called, ‘The Stressed Sex’, and also has ‘prof’ in his name which makes him clever automatically) came up with one possible idea. He said, “Where we think it [mental health] has an effect is particularly on women’s self-esteem or self-worth: women tend to view themselves more negatively than men, and that is a vulnerability factor for many mental health problems.”
Basically Dan’s saying that girls see the negatives in themselves more than guys do, meaning they retreat more easily into anxiety or depression as a result of low self-esteem.
So yeaaaahhhh, that sucks.
What can we do? We can’t fix anxiety just by dancing to Beyoncé, having hot baths, turning off all social media sources, and telling ourselves we’re so damn fine deserve the world… but it can’t hurt, either. Try f**king the haters, and remembering that social media isn’t a real world with real interactions.
If this doesn’t work and you’re still struggling with anxiety or depression, girl OR boy, take a look at YoungMinds or MentalHealth.org for more info on what you can do to look after yourselves. Just like going to the doctors to treat a broken leg, your mind needs medical attention if it doesn’t feel right, and it can get better.
Lots of love!