Did you know that women are twice as likely to experience depression than men? Did you know that one in every eight women will develop depression during their lifetime? Did you also know that clinical depression is NOT normal and that treatment is available?
May is Mental Health Month. The doctors and nurse midwives at Gainesville’s All About Women want you to know that your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
All women should know when to seek professional help for mental health concerns – help is not far away.
The Costs of Mental Illness
While one in five American adults will be diagnosed with a mental health illness this year, less than half of them will seek treatment. That’s an unfortunate decision that can be detrimental to overall health. The stress caused by a mental illness (…or that can cause a mental illness) can lead to a variety of physical conditions, including:
- Stomach pains and ulcers
- High blood pressure
- Increased vulnerability to infection.
Women of childbearing age are at a particularly high risk for the mental illness of depression. That’s no surprise considering this population may face issues of infertility, pregnancy difficulties, career stress, and/or the stress of raising children.
While facing all these stressors, women may have less time to take care of their mental wellness. But taking care of mental health should be a priority for all women, since poor maternal health can have unintended consequences for children. According to NYU’s Child Study Center, maternal depression can negatively affect children’s development and self-esteem from infancy all the way through the adolescent years.
The postpartum period is a particularly high-risk time for women to develop depression. Read our knowledge center article on the baby blues and postpartum depression to learn the signs of these conditions and how to help protect yourself from these painful mental health conditions.
Work with Your Well Woman Care Provider for Mental Wellness
At All About Women, we take mental health seriously. As part of your annual well woman exam, your doctor or midwife will perform a mental health screening to help catch mental health issues that may require additional professional support or medication.
If you think you might have a mental health illness, try writing your moods for a period of two weeks to help give your doctor a better idea of your current situation.
You can also visit the Mental Health America website, which offers anonymous and confidential screenings for depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. These screenings may help start the conversation with your well woman provider.
Call our compassionate staff at our Gainesville or Lake City office today if you think that you might be experiencing depression, particularly during or after pregnancy. There are therapies and antidepressants that are safe for use both during pregnancy and during breastfeeding. At All About Women, we advocate for your wellness, both physical and mental, at all stages in life.