European Institute of Women’s Health Calls on All to Support Dignity in Mental Health

10 October 2015—The European Institute of Women’s Health (EIWH) invites its members, friends and colleagues to join us in recognition of World Mental Health Day 2015 to highlight mental health issues that women and their families across Europe encounter.This year the theme for the day is “Dignity in Mental Health,” a health issue that largely impacts women and their families.

The European Commission believe that depression and depression-related problems account for more than 7% of all estimated ill-health and premature mortality in Europe.These mental disorders have large implications for the health of women and of their families, especially later life when women are more likely than men to suffer from poor mental health.

The burden of depression includes the loss of quality of life for those affected and their families, a loss of productivity for firms, an increased risk of unemployment for individuals and consequently a higher burden on social security systems. The stigma associated with depression, along with the cultural attitudes and misunderstanding and labelling that accompanies the condition can result in less people seeking treatment; therefore, more awareness is needed at all levels in society in order for people with depression to feel less ashamed and for destigmatisation to take place.

Many factors contribute to the unique picture of depression in women—from reproductive hormones, postpartum depression, peri-menopause and menopause to social pressures, domestic violence, financial hardship, care giving burnout, bereavement and the response to stress.  Learning about these factors can help minimise the risk of depression and treat it more effectively.

Although women disproportionately suffer more from depression,far too little robust data exists on the affect of medications on women. Women are often not included in sufficient numbers in clinical trials throughout  Europe, therefore robust evidence may be lacking.

There is a need for the inclusion of women in clinical trials that reflects the prevalence of the disease, in order to ensure results are statistically relevant and explicit,

urged EIWH President Hildrun Sundseth.

Peg Maguire, Director General of the EIWH called on all stakeholders “to make combating violence against women a priority and to garner the political will and the resources to eliminate the current inequalities

We must raise  awareness and ensure that people struggling with mental health conditions do not face discrimination, stigmatisation and marginalisation. We must ensure that these individuals and their families receive quality care and support.”

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