International Women's Day - Snapshot of women's mental health and wellbeing in Australia

This International Women’s Day 2022, we highlight the resilience and strength of women.

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Women are leaders, mentors, mothers, daughters, sisters, nieces, aunties, grandmas and friends. They are our confidants, our teachers and keepers of knowledge.

There are 12.6 million women in Australia and each share experiences and life transitions that are unique to being female which are connected to their mental health and wellbeing.

When responding to the mental health and wellbeing of women and girls we need to consider the impacts of those factors that are unique for women including reproductive health, pregnancy, motherhood, and menopause.

It is also important to recognise the social and environmental factors that can contribute to additional burdens for women and girls leading to negative mental health and wellbeing including, discrimination, inequality and inequity, poverty, online, family, domestic and sexual violence and abuse, and homelessness.

We must also consider the impacts on women and girls that are shared with others including caring responsibilities, social and cultural expectations, and other detrimental life experiences such as body image pressure, infertility or perinatal loss.

Around 1 in 6 women in Australia will experience depression and 1 in 3 women will experience anxiety during their lifetime. Postpartum depression impacts 1 in 6 women during their first year after birth. Women also experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and eating disorders at higher rates than men.

The additional pressure of dealing with COVID-19 has also shown that women have had a heightened negative experience as a result. In 2020-21, women were more likely to experience high or very high levels of psychological distress than men.

While women are more likely to report their experiences of mental ill-health than men, we must continue to recognise and respond to the differences in health outcomes.

Recognising that certain groups within society are more at risk of poor health and wellbeing as a consequence of social and environmental factors is a vital step in eliminating inequality. By being aware of how our society contributes to negative mental health outcomes for women, we can begin to create solutions and ensure that all people are supported to live a contributing life in a thriving community.

1 in 3 women will experience anxiety during their lifetime.

1 in 6 women in Australia will experience depression.

Women have twice the risk of men in experiencing PTSD in their lifetime.

1 in 4 has experience physical or sexual violence by a current of former intimate partner since age 15.

1 in 4 has experienced emotional abuse by a current or former intimate partner sinxe aged 15.

15% of women will experince an eating disporder in their lifetime.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women aged 25-34 die by suicide at a rate that is three time higher than their non-indigenous counterparts.

A woman is twice as likely to experience depression than a man.

1 in 6 women and those Postpartum depression impacts 1 in 6 women during the first year after birth.

6 million mum in Australia.

300,000 women give birth in Australia each year.

1 in 9 Australian couples of reproductive age experiences fertility problems.

1 in 9 women and those assigned female at birt are affected by endometriosis.

1.6 million information female carers in Australia, 649,000 of which identified a primary caregivers.

64.4% of work per day for women in Australia is unpaid care work.

National Mental Health Commission media contact

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  • Children & family

Acknowledgement of Country

The Commission acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands throughout Australia.
We pay our respects to their clans, and to the elders, past and present, and acknowledge their continuing connection to land, sea and community.

Diversity

The Commission is committed to embracing diversity and eliminating all forms of discrimination in the provision of health services. The Commission welcomes all people irrespective of ethnicity, lifestyle choice, faith, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lived Experience

We acknowledge the individual and collective contributions of those with a lived and living experience of mental ill-health and suicide, and those who love, have loved and care for them. Each person’s journey is unique and a valued contribution to Australia’s commitment to mental health suicide prevention systems reform.