Happy International Women’s Day! Today and everyday, we stand with all women who make this world a better place. Mental health issues affect both men and women but sometimes not in equal measure. Why might this be? There are certain life events and cultural factors that uniquely impact women more than men and take a lasting emotional toll like:
- Women tend to do more in the home
- Gender roles continue to exist
- Body image issues are prevalent from an early age
- Help-seeking barriers are present
New research from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)* also indicates there is a gender gap in terms of the mental health challenges women are experiencing compared to men during COVID-19. Findings include:
- Women have higher anxiety levels (24%) than men (18%)
- Women report higher levels of loneliness (23%) than men (19%)
- Fear of catching COVID-19 is increased for women (26%) VS men (20%)
- Parents of children under 18 have higher levels of depression as well
To manage stress and anxiety during these times and beyond, there are a few tips you can consider:
- Know your warning signs - check in with yourself and understand your stress and anxiety levels to know when to take a break.
- Invest in self-care - prioritize taking care of your needs first before anyone else's so you are not depleted while taking care of loved ones.
- Connect with others - eliminate the stigma of talking about mental health (even if it's self-imposed) by opening up and sharing your stories with your circle of friends or family.
- Focus on what you can control - remove unnecessary pressure in your life by focusing on the parts that are within your control and let go of what isn't within your control.
- Set strong boundaries and limits - create the space you need to take from others or at work to add balance to your life.
- Connect with meaning and value - know what's important to you and fill your life with everything that makes you happy and gives you a sense of purpose.
Today, we #ChooseToChallenge on #IWD2021 and encourage all those who are experiencing mental health struggles to reach out and ask for help. Remember, we are all in this challenging time together and no one should suffer in silence.
*Reference: www.CAMH.ca –COVID-19 Pandemic Adversely Affecting Mental Health of Women and People with Children
Mental health issues affect both men and women but sometimes not in equal measure.