Article calls on society to address causes of women’s mental illness
Summary of story from Guardian, November 21, 2011
It’s hardly surprising that more women than men are seeking medication for mental health-related issues in the US, says Victoria Bekiempis – and it’s about time society started addressing the underlying issues rather than just treating the symptoms.
According to a report from MedCo published last week, 25% of women in the US are taking medication for anxiety, depression, ADHD or another mental health disorder (see WVoN story). The figure for men is 15%.
Bekiempis suggests several reasons for this difference, in particular highlighting the long historical precedent of doctors and societies depicting women as mentally ill as a way of ignoring deeper problems.
Among the current problems, Bekiempis says, are the prevailing “rape culture”, and less violent pressures that “chisel away” at women’s self-esteem.
She concludes: “That one in four women takes mental health medication should not be that surprising.
“That we’re still treating the symptoms of our sick-making sexual politics in 2011, rather than the cause of the epidemic, should be surprising and entirely inexcusable.”