Madwomen In Attics

The number of women suffering from mental disorders is quickly rising, yet the funds given to the mental health sector are being cut. The Department of Health reports that in 2014-2015 alone, over a million women were in contact with mental health care and/or learning disability centers, but the overall percentage of people who were then admitted by the said services is decreasing each year. The question is, is the care they are being given appropriate?

The issue of mental health is more than pressing for the United Kingdom, with the number of different mental health problems increasing for both genders. Even more so, the newest statistics on female mental disorders indicate the need for urgent intervention in the female mental health sector. England tops of the list, with a 7% (from 19% to 26%) rise in young women, aged 16-24 years old, suffering from a common mental disorder in the span of 10 years. Another worrying statistic is that 25.6% of young women in England have attempted to self-harm which is higher than in any other age-gender group. Similarly, Scotland reports an increase in depression, anxiety and self-harm within its general female population.

On the other side, the UK funding for mental health is getting smaller by the year. The 2016 update of Key facts and trends in mental health released by the NHS Confederation shows a 8.25%decrease in funding between 2010/2011 and 2014/15. In terms of money, this equals to £600 million. One of the consequences of such a sizeable money shortage is the constant drop in people admitted by the mental health (and learning disability) services, regardless of the increase in reported mental problems.

Taking into consideration the specific increase in female mental health problems, it seems that the facilities providing help are lacking any gender-specific programs. With 57 mental health trusts in England, only one publicly showed evidence of a gender-specific strategy, which, according to the Department of Health, is vital for recovery.

The question of whether the services provided by these facilities are appropriate and effective must be addressed as soon as possible.

[Žad Novak]

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