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Women have different mental health needs to men

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Rates of suicide in women are at a record high Rates of suicide in women are at a record high

Women's experience of mental ill health can differ to men's, which carries implications for the provision of services, a report by the Women’s Mental Health Taskforce has found.

The taskforce’s final report sets out how women’s experience of mental ill health can differ to men’s. It covers core themes in women’s mental health; the involvement of women with lived experience; principles for service design; and future strategic priorities.

One of the report’s key findings was that, despite the clear relationship between gender based violence and trauma and poor mental health, this link is rarely reflected in the support available to women with mental health problems – with trauma informed services rare.

Additionally, eating disorders, self-harm and suicide can also affect women and men differently. Eating disorders are more common among women and girls than men and boys, and young women and girls are more at risk of self-harm. However, while young men are still more likely to take their own lives than young women, the rates for young women (those aged 20-24) have increased rapidly and are currently the highest on record.

‘This report is a call to action for all providers, commissioners and practitioners across the health care system to drive forward the ethos of trauma- and gender informed mental health care,’ said Jackie Doyle-Price MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Mental Health, Inequalities and Suicide Prevention. I urge you to use the guiding principles developed by the Taskforce when developing and delivering services. The strategic priorities within this report set out the need for a whole-system approach when tackling the injustices that women face. We need partners across the health, justice and social care system to work together to ensure that women receive the high-quality care that they need.

Women are more likely to experience common mental health conditions than men, and while rates remain relatively stable in men, prevalence is increasing in. Young women are a particularly high-risk group, with over a quarter (26%) experiencing a common mental disorder, such as anxiety or depression – almost three times more than young men (9.1%).

‘Rising rates of mental ill health are one of the biggest challenges we face as a society,’ added Ms Doyle-Price.

‘With increasing awareness and diagnosis, understandably, the pressure on our services increases. That’s why mental health is a priority for this Government. We are determined to make services more numerous and importantly more accessible, tackling the stigma around mental ill-health. Rates of mental health issues are rising more quickly for women than for men, but many are facing barriers because of their gender. This is unacceptable.’

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