Understanding Barriers: Women's Mental Health Struggles in Australia
- Overview of the 2023 Women's Mental Health Research by Liptember Foundation
- Barriers Australian Women Face: Financial constraints, stigma, self-reliance, and accessibility
- Practical Solutions: Government and industry collaboration, education, and reduced stigma
The 2023 Women's Mental Health Research by the Liptember Foundation provides important insights into the ongoing challenges affecting women's access to mental health services in Australia. Similar to previous years, certain trends continue to stand out.
Shift in Perception: Women Managing Mental Health Independently
This year's findings show a considerable shift in women's views on managing their mental health on their own. The percentage rose from 34% in 2022 to 39% in 2023. Moreover, a growing number of women see their concerns as not serious enough to warrant professional help, climbing from 29% to 33%.
Financial Barriers: A Growing Concern
Financial burdens remain a major hindrance. About 31% of women hesitate to seek help due to monetary constraints, which is an increase from 22% the previous year. Additional factors like embarrassment, fear of judgment, and competing life priorities add to the complexity of obtaining necessary aid.
The Main Barriers Australian Women Face in Accessing Mental Health Support
1. Financial Struggles and the Cost of Living:
A crucial discovery in this year's research is that a significant 59% of women associate the rising cost of living with negative impacts on their mental well-being. Alarmingly, only 15% of those affected have taken steps to resolve this issue. Factors such as soaring grocery prices, rising petrol costs, and escalating utility bills exacerbate this concern.
2. Stigma and Shame: Persistent Barriers
Efforts to remove the stigma around mental health continue, but significant barriers remain. Shame and self-stigmatization are still prevalent. Young women, in particular, are discouraged from seeking help due to fears of judgment from others.
3. Underestimating the Severity of Mental Health Issues:
Worryingly, 33% of women avoid seeking help because they believe their mental health problems are not severe enough. This behavior is most notable among mothers, who often put their health on the back burner.
4. The Self-Reliance Dilemma:
An interesting finding is that 39% of women think they can manage their mental health concerns on their own, avoiding professional intervention. This aligns with the notion that asking for help is a sign of weakness.
5. Accessibility Challenges: Finding Appropriate Help
A significant 12% of women report difficulties in accessing appropriate mental health care. Problems such as long wait times and lack of available Medicare-funded services are among the main obstacles.
Looking Forward: Strategies for Enhanced Women's Mental Health in Australia
A multi-pronged approach involving both government and industry is needed to ensure accessible, practical, and timely mental health support for Australian women. Reducing stigma through education and awareness can go a long way in encouraging more women to seek the help they need.
The 2023 Women's Mental Health Research outlines significant challenges that Australian women continue to face in accessing mental health care. Despite some progress, barriers like financial stress, societal stigma, and self-reliance still exist. Collective efforts and comprehensive strategies are essential for ensuring that all women have access to the mental health support they rightfully deserve.
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Written by Mona Hecke
Mona Hecke is a degree qualified Naturopath, nutrition specialist and health and wellness writer.
With over 20 years in the health industry, beginning with a focus on children and families, and a bestselling book ‘The Lunchbox Revolution’, Mona is now empowering women through education and conversation to take action and embrace change. Gut health, mindfulness, nutrition, hormones, and menopause are the topics that women want and need to know to create their healthy future.
Mona holds certifications in Lifestyle Coaching, Kinesiology, holistic herbal medicine, and nutrition.
A recognised leader in the health industry, Mona’s strong social media presence and passion for influencing change will continue to be a catalyst for health reform for the benefit of every Australian.