Culture and Women’s Mental Health

Living reference work entry
Part of the Mental Health and Illness Worldwide book series (MHIW)


Epidemiological studies across countries and cultures have consistently demonstrated higher prevalence of common mental disorders like depression and anxiety among women. However, psychiatry with its biomedical perspectives employs diagnostic criteria, which use symptom counts sans context, identifies mental disorders, and suggests individual treatments. The failure to acknowledge the role of the psychosocial, cultural, and economic contexts in producing mental distress and ill health among girls and women in patriarchal societies suggests poor understanding of the complex stressors on one hand and supports and opportunities available to half the world’s population on the other. Psychiatric diagnostic systems should elicit and understand the person’s context and take into account the psychosocial and economic stress, supports, and coping while attempting to empower people. Medicine and psychiatry, nested within capitalistic political and economic systems, needs to advocate public health approaches to reducing mental distress and ill health among girls and women. All policies and programs should be viewed through the “gender lens” in order to provide gender justice to girls and women in the near future.


Mental disorders Depression Anxiety Gender Women Mental health 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Christian Medical CollegeVelloreIndia

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