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Women at Greater Risk for Depression and Anxiety
Date:5/11/2009

New HHS Report Released During National Women's Health Week Points to Importance of Resiliency

WASHINGTON, May 11 /PRNewswire/ -- A new report released today on gender-based differences in mental health shows women are nearly twice as likely as men to suffer from major depression. The report addresses many other mental health issues facing women, including the effect trauma and violence can have on long term mental health, and outlines action steps for policy makers, healthcare professionals and researchers.

Action Steps for Improving Women's Mental Health, released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health (OWH), brings together the most recent research on mental health issues in women and explores the role gender plays in diagnosing, treating and coping with mental illness. It also points to resiliency and social support systems as key factors in overcoming mental illness. Other highlights include:

  • Rates of anxiety disorders are two to three times higher in women than men.
  • Having a history of violence, trauma or abuse is associated with increased risk of depression, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder and a tendency to engage in risky behaviors.
  • Female veterans may face a higher risk of PTSD than their male counterparts.
  • Family and other interpersonal connections in a woman's life may play an important role in building resiliency and offering protection from mental illness.

Acting Surgeon General Steven Galson, M.D., M.P.H., emphasizes, "Mental illness is often incorrectly perceived as a weakness, which prevents women from recognizing the signs and symptoms and seeking treatment. In order to reduce stigma, we need to encourage open, honest conversations."

The report also outlines specific actio
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SOURCE The Office on Women's Health
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