Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Poor mental health 'affects women'

Three out of five women have experienced mental health problems, a survey suggests
Three out of five women have experienced mental health problems, a survey suggests

Three out of five women and girls have experienced poor mental health, a new report has revealed.

A quarter of those affected also said they had taken at least a week off work on sick leave.

The research by Platform 51, formerly the YWCA, has led the charity to call for a review of the treatment offered to women experiencing low-level poor mental health.

Chief executive Penny Newman said a "dependency culture" meant doctors were too often handing out prescription drugs to treat mental health issues.

Of the women and girls aged 12 and over surveyed, 63% had experienced poor mental health and 32% of the women had taken anti-depressants.

Ms Newman said: "Millions of girls and women are facing mental health problems and they are telling us that they are not getting the support they need.

"Women are often the linchpins of their families and their communities, and if three in five of them aren't meeting their potential, they lose out, their family and friends lose out and so does the wider society."

Calling for changes to be made to the way poor mental health is approached, she said: "Policy makers need to act now to address this crisis in women's mental health and provide a range of effective interventions. We must put an end to the dependency culture that has built up around prescription drugs, giving women more choice and control over the support they receive.

"Too often women's voices are not heard on the issues that affect them. This research provides them with a platform to speak to policy makers and call for the changes that will improve the lives of women everywhere."

Platform 51 questioned 2,000 women and girls in England and Wales and also used data from focus groups to produce its report, Women Like Me: Supporting wellbeing in girls and women.

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