Women’s Mental Health Facts
Women’s mental health
Mental health and abuse
There is clear evidence indicating that women’s mental health is linked to their experiences of violence and abuse. For example:
- 53% of women who have mental health problems have experienced abuse.
- More than three quarters of women (78%) of women who have faced extensive physical and sexual violence – in both childhood and adulthood – have experienced life threatening trauma, and 16% have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
- Over a third (36%) of women who have faced extensive physical and sexual violence in both childhood and adulthood have attempted suicide, and a fifth (22%) have self-harmed
Mental health and poverty
- Women in poverty are more likely to face poor mental health, with 29% of women in poverty experiencing a common mental health disorder compared to 16% of women not in poverty.
- Women in poverty who have experienced abuse are even more likely to experience poor mental health
Mental ill health among young women and girls
Three quarters (75%) of mental health issues are established before the age of 24, and young women have emerged as the highest-risk group for mental ill health:
- A quarter of young women (25.7%) have self-harmed – more than twice the rate for young men. There is evidence this could be higher and is growing.*
- 2% of young women experience a Common Mental Disorder, such as anxiety or depression – almost three times more than young men.
- 1 in 7 young women (16-24) have PTSD (compared with 3.6% of young men).
- 72% of those in suicide counselling with NSPCC are girls
- Suicide is the third most common reason for girls to contact Childline, and the fifth most common for boys
*A study from the University of Manchester found that 73% of 10-19 year olds who identified as having self-harmed at least once were girls. Experts have seen a “rapid” rise in self-harm among teenage girls, with reports of self harm among 13-16 year old girls rising by 68% between 2011 and 2014.