Saturday 17 November 2018

Women 'struggle in silence' on mental health issues

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Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Women in some of the poorest areas of Dublin are taking their lives in the same numbers as men for the first time.

Overall, women are twice as likely to suffer depression and anxiety as men, a new report has warned. The report by the National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI), 'Out of Silence, women's mental health in their own words', also warned that Ireland has the highest rate for child suicide of girls in Europe.

NWCI's women's health co-ordinator and co-author of the report Cliona Loughnane said: "Women's voices are too often absent from the discussions on mental health in Ireland.

"Our report aims to bring women's mental health out of this silence. It highlights women's direct experiences, how they cope, how they keep themselves well and how they feel they could be better supported by services.

"Recent women's healthcare scandals have shown the need to listen to women and use their experiences to inform health policies and the provision of services for women and girls in all our diversity."

"Unfortunately, the findings of this project show that there are deficits in mental health provision for women. If we want to improve mental health outcomes for women, we must address issues such as women's shame and guilt when speaking out, the fear of their children being removed when seeking support, depression, low self-esteem and long waiting lists for care."

The report, which is based on conversations with more than 100 women from across Ireland, said women account for the majority of admissions to St Patrick's Mental Health Services in Dublin with the ratio of female to male admissions standing at 3:2.

The launch of the Women's Mental Health Network will provide opportunities for collaboration among different voices and sectors.

Irish Independent

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