The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health leads National Women’s Health Week which takes place the week of May 13th. National Women’s Health Week’s focus is on empowering women to take control of their personal health and wellness. Women’s mental health is central to overall health and wellness, and thus, is a primary focus during National Women’s Health Week.
Women’s Mental Health
In general, mental illness is considered “taboo” to discuss due to the stigma it carries. Because of this, many women don’t discuss their own mental health struggles and are uneducated about possible treatment options and available services.
Men and women experience mental illness differently, and women are more prone to certain mental health disorders including depression and anxiety. Additionally, there are certain kinds of depression only experienced by women, including postpartum depression and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Postpartum depression affects 1 out of every 8 women in the months following childbirth. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a severe form of PMS that significantly impacts women, both behaviorally and physically.
Although symptoms can look different depending on the person and the specific mental illness, some general symptoms when it comes to women’s mental health are:
- Social isolation
- Increased alcohol use
- Changes in eating and/or sleeping habits
- Excessive fear or worry
- Increased irritability
- Negative self-talk
- Suicidal thoughts
- Decreased energy
National Women’s Health Week
National Women’s Health Week encourages women to prioritize their mental health as a way to promote an overall healthy lifestyle and increase quality of life.
Whether you are a woman or not, there are many ways to get involved and support National Women’s Health Week.
- Use the #NWHW hashtag on social media sites.
- Volunteer at a local women’s health fair, shelter or clinic.
- Promote a healthy lifestyle through sharing with others how you personally care for your own health.
- Donate to National Women’s Health Week events.
- Attend a local event supporting National Women’s Health Week.
Whether or not you choose to get involved in National Women’s Health Week, it is important you take steps to care for your own health. Some general steps you can take to improve your health include:
- Get a well-woman’s check up 1x per year.
- Stay active through exercise.
- Eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
- Avoid unhealthy habits and behaviors including smoking, drinking, and drugs.
- Wear your seatbelt in the car and a helmet on a bike.
- Do not text and drive.
To find out more about National Women’s Health Week, women’s mental health, or to learn about the services offered at HPA/LiveWell in Albany, New York, call 518-218-1188.