Let’s talk about women’s mental health for Bell Let’s Talk

January 30 2019
We’re highlighting four women’s mental health concerns and how BC Women’s is prioritizing them.

Bell Let’s Talk day aims to end the stigma surrounding mental health.

So today, we’ve chosen to highlight just four ways women are disproportionately affected by mental health concerns + how BC Women’s is working towards a future where women feel heard and seen by the healthcare system.

1. Postpartum depression affects approximately 10% of new mothers.

Although postpartum depression affects 10% of new mothers, some studies estimate that only 1 in 3 women of them seek help from a health professional. Women often feel alone in their battles and this side of motherhood is not often shared, which furthers the stigma.

That’s why BC Women’s Women’s Health Research Institute is developing an app for women experiencing postpartum depression. It will allow women to access evidence-based cognitive behavioural therapy from the comfort of their own home.

Waitlists for specialized care for postpartum in BC can be upwards of a year, so providing this resources in the meantime could be life-changing for some mothers. Their team is currently collecting data, with the hopes to begin developing a prototype later this year.You can learn more about this project here.

2. Nearly 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage in her lifetime.

During a time where grief and heartbreak are inevitable, we really can’t underestimate the importance of reaching out for support.  That’s why BC Women’s specialized clinics for both Early Pregnancy Assessment and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss help women + their partners face this grief.

These clinics provide a full spectrum of medical care, as well as education and counselling services.

3.  1 in 10 women of reproductive age suffer from endometriosis.

Most women with endometriosis suffer for years before they learn they can get help. It can be frustrating to not have anyone understand your pain especially when it can be so intense.

Endometriosis can affect all areas of life - work, school, relationships; and also mood, thoughts, behaviour, and stress levels. That’s why BC Women’s Centre for Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis helps women learn mindfulness-based techniques to help reduce stress and chronic pain; manage intense emotions and negative thoughts; and address symptoms of anxiety, depression.

Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously.

4. 79% of people living with a complex chronic disease are women.

There are three Complex Chronic Diseases: Fibromyalgia, Chronic Lyme Disease, and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, commonly known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. They are all illnesses that do not get better.

Thousands of women in Vancouver are experiencing health concerns we know very little about. Not surprisingly, this can tremendously impact mental health. There’s an increased likelihood to develop depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem and confidence.

The Complex Chronic Diseases Program at BC Women’s is working to develop a new model of care for their clients. They have a Virtual Health Program where patients are able to see, hear, and speak to health care providers in the same ways as an in-person visit, using Skype as a more accessible means of mental healthcare.

These are only a handful of ways women are disproportionately affected by mental health concerns. Breaking the stigma of talking about mental health is vital to our well-being. That’s why BC Women’s prioritizes resources and services to help women feel heard and seen by the healthcare system.

The conversation doesn’t end here. Share your story with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, or read three courageous stories from BC Women’s:

  • Joanne’s #RAWMotherhood series aims to shed light on the side of motherhood that is often forgotten.

  • Anna shares her experience with infant loss, with the hopes that other women will feel more comfortable doing the same.

  • Miriam and Dario are doing their best to break the stigma surrounding miscarriages.