Indeed, every other face we see today has something hidden behind those smiles and “I’m fine”. A survey conducted in 2015 by World Health Organization, says that one in every five Indians may suffer from depression at least once in their lifetime, which is equivalent to 200 million people. The report also says that the percentage of women affected because of depression is 50% higher than men. On one hand where depressive disorder accounts for close to nearly 41.9% of mental disorders in women, depression is not the only disorder in women when it comes to mental health.
Now the question is what is the pretext of this huge disparity in this percentage? Why are women more prone to depression?
The answer to this cannot narrow down to just one reason. However, some of the common factors which play a huge role to this disparity are abuse (domestic, sexual, eve-teasing gender disparity), poverty and various biological factors such as the hormonal changes experienced by women. Post-natal depression is another major cause behind it.
In all of these, one of the primary grounds of this percentage variance is socially constructed differences between men and women in roles/responsibilities, status/power and the responses of the society towards these genders.
If we peek into our Indian household, women are overburdened mostly. They’re considered responsible for the ménage. However, subtle change in the outlook of the society, has changed the percentage of women, to go out for work positively. Although, that didn’t change scenario for women in their household as they’re still responsible for the major part of family responsibilities. These overburdened responsibilities on women in our society, is the cause of major stress and is directly proportional to their mental health.
Another gender bias lies in the treatment of psychological disorder itself. It’s widely believed that women are hyper prone to emotional problems or also known as PMS (Post Menstrual Syndrome). Hence, doctors are more likely to diagnose Major Depressive Disorder in women as compared to men, even when they report similar symptoms or depressive disorder.
However, more research is required on the subject in order to diminish the root cause of gender stereotypes and percentage disparity in mental health in men and women in the society.