Tag Archives: women’s mental health

Wera Hobhouse highlights women’s mental health

Yesterday, Wera Hobhouse led a Commons debate on women’s mental health.

Before the debate, she wrote for Politics Home about the responsibility MPs have to strengthen these vital services:

Whether it’s desperation over housing, Universal Credit, or Personal Independence Payments, the numbers of people struggling have increased dramatically, exacerbating mental health issues.

And for women, these problems are increasing.

More women – one in five – experience common mental health disorders like anxiety and depression compared with men, according to the charity Agenda, the alliance for women and girls at risk.

Young women are even more vulnerable with 26 percent at risk of these kinds of mental health problems — three times more than young men.

She outlined why it’s so important to make sure women have access to treatment for eating disorders at an early stage:

Many health professionals still reach for the scales when faced with an eating disorder, despite existing guidelines clearly advising against solely using weight for a diagnosis. Girls are turned away even when they are clearly suffering because they aren’t ‘thin enough’.

For over a year, I have been campaigning to #DumpTheScales – demanding shorter waiting times for adult sufferers and more education in medical schools around these deadly disorders.

We need to treat eating disorders as a mental health issue, not just a physical health issue.

And she looked at why women find it difficult to seek help for mental ill health:

A mother may be afraid to ask for help if she fears her children could be taken away. Services often fail to recognize the trauma that women experience through separation from their children, for example through extended stay in medical facilities.

We must think about what models work to support the wellbeing and mental health of women who are carers and mothers.

Mental health is complicated, and we don’t have all the answers yet. However, only by having open conversations about the problems can we can find lasting solutions.

Ultimately, as an MP, my colleagues and I have a responsibility to identify these solutions and safeguard them in law.

Only through strong laws can we build a society where equality, and wellbeing, is guaranteed for everyone.

You can watch her speech here. Unfortunately, the embedding was not working at the time of writing.

Here’s the text of her speech with the interventions:

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