Gulf University for Science & Technology, Saudi Arabia
Title: Female Mental Health
Biography: Siddiqa Hussain
According to the World Health Organization women are twice more likely to develop ailments such as depression, eating disorders, and panic disorders than men and three times more likely to attempt suicide than men. Depression, anxiety, psychological distress, sexual and domestic violence and escalating rates of substance abuse affect women to a greater extent across different geographies, significantly in the region I come from and where I have been practicing psychology over 20 years. While managing multiple roles women in our region have to face male dominance and lack of female autonomy, gender discrimination, and preference of male over female children as well as social and psychological abandonment of female fetuses, overwork, domestic violence and sexual abuse, high family and social expectations compounded together to out immense pressure on them and leads to poor mental health. The high prevalence of sexual violence that women are exposed and the corresponding high rate of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following such experiences render women to be the largest single group of people affected by this disorder. In today’s world although these socio-cultural factors are boldly challenged by women taking up powerful careers yet not free from the burden of role assigned responsibilities. Reasons can be many but as a cognitive therapist, I think insufficient autonomy to respond in severe events, lack of knowledge or resources to make effective well balanced choices in life and absence of adequate psychological support from families, friends and health care facilities escalates the prevalence of mental health illnesses.