Good mental health is an important part of overall health and well-being. Life stressors, including balancing work and personal relationships, life experiences, finances, housing and environment can all have an impact on mental health. As a result, mental health can change over a lifetime.
Women in B.C. are twice as likely to experience depression as men. Women also report higher levels of depression in addition to anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder compared to boys. This may be because women are more likely to be victims of violence, have lower incomes and to feel stressed from caregiving. Reasons for why many women do not seek treatment for depression include the stigma of mental illness, lack of knowledge about symptoms, lack of financial and medical resources, and fear of losing custody of children.
Women also have a tendency to focus on caring for others and may neglect their own self-care needs as a result. Taking care of yourself is important to your mental health and well-being. Here are some suggestions to stay mentally healthy:
- Take time out every day for self-care, e.g., good nutrition, exercise, time to relax
- Learn ways to let go of stress such as through meditation and yoga
- Look at your schedule and identify any unnecessary activities that you and your family don’t enjoy or don’t have to do. Avoid feeling guilty if you need to say “no” in order to make time for yourself and priorities for your and your family
- Seek out support from family, friends and community resources as needed. Work on expanding your support system so that there are others who can be there for you when you need it
To help cope with life stressors or mental health challenges, some women may turn to alcohol, prescription or street drugs. If you are dealing with mental health challenges, stress or problematic alcohol/substance use, see the following resources:
- Here to Help: Provides easy-to-understand self-help resources on mental health and addictions.
- HealthLink BC: Mental Health Problems and Stigma
- Healthlink BC: Substance Use and Mental Health Issues
- Women and Alcohol: A Women's Health Resource (PDF, 1.3MB)