According to WHO, “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”. Mental health is a fundamental requirement in our everyday livelihood. Women being the backbone of the society, may go through a lot of challenges which may spawn mental health issues. Although overall, men and women experience mental illness at similar rates, some mental disorders occur more frequently in women than men.Some of the factors that affect the mental health of women include; biological and developmental factors, health system issues, trauma, violence and abuse, social stress, identification and intervention issues.
Here are some of the ways in which we can improve the lives of women through integrating mental health and livelihood approaches;
Supporting the efforts of monitoring the mental health and well being of women- this will help identify the current mental health needs and disparities. It will also help in the allocation of resources and monitoring the effectiveness of interventions and policies thus improving their lives through various ways.
Establishing protective factors and resilience to promote mental health for women- this allows them to rebound from tragedy, trauma, threats or other stresses that may have occurred. This can be done by the social systems surrounding them such as family and other interpersonal connections as studies suggest that they play a major role in establishing resilience and act as protective factors for the women against mental health issues.
Improving the connections of primary care and mental health services for women- Presence of a gap between mental health and other health services aggravates issues such as stigma and lowers the chances of treatment for mental illness. Therefore bridging the gap with the presence of trained personnel to offer primary care on mental health will greatly improve the lives of women since their mental issues will be effectively and efficiently dealt with.
Ensuring that people understand the importance of improved mental health for women- This will ease the process of providing mental health services to women hence minimizing mental health issues. It will greatly improve the lives of women through a livelihood approach.
In conclusion, there are so many ways in which lives can be improved through integrating mental health and livelihood approaches. Therefore mental health should be highly considered and prioritised because the existence of people free of mental issues will greatly build our nation. However mental health is not something to be embarrassed of so it will be better to seek help from the right professionals to avoid inflaming the situation.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health (1999). Mental health: a report of the Surgeon General, Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
World Health Organization, (2005). Gender and Health in Natural Disasters, WHO, Department of Gender, Women, and Health
World Health Organization, (2006). Gender, Women, and Health: Gender and Disaster. http://www.searo.who.int/en/Section13/Section390_8282.htm
World Health Organization: WHO. (2018, March 30). Mental health: strengthening our response. Retrieved September 2, 2021, from Who.int website: https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-strengthening-our-response