How to Support Women with Mental Health Challenges

  • When you are repeatedly told that you are strong, there is a tendency to cover-up your vulnerabilities and problems, and never seek help. What happens when you soldier through the problems on your own? Eventually you won’t be able to take it anymore and you will breakdown.
How to Support Women with Mental Health Challenges
Reading Time: 4 minutes

With the world shutting down after the pandemic and people being forced to stay at home for extended periods of time, the issue of mental health is more important than ever before. Now is the time for all of us to support each other and overcome the challenges with our collective strength. 

The world is learning to change behaviors and connect digitally. From having Zoom parties to accessing healthcare professionals through video conferencing, the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of both companies and individuals. But, has it been easier for people to talk about their mental health issues? 

Having Mental Health Issues Is Not Weakness 

Consider a mother who devotes her entire life to raise her children in a secure and loving environment. She gives everything for her children, but does not have time to take care of herself. There is no time for a mother to worry about her own mental health when the lives of her children are at stake. 

Is this acceptable in modern society? Is it acceptable that a hard working mother feels guilty about opening up about her mental health struggles?  

Mental health is not a weakness. We need to stand up and speak about our challenges. No one taught us about how to deal with these personal challenges, but there is a solution.  

Speaking about your mental health challenges is crucial. There are many groups and institutions today that are ready to listen and support you. We are stronger together

Black Women Are Strong. Really? 

Have you ever heard someone compliment a black woman or a woman of color by saying that she is able to overcome a problem because she is strong? Perhaps you would have heard this when someone says black women have that magic that helps them push forward despite the challenges. Is this motivation or is society building up an unhealthy image for women of color? 

Should black women be only seen as “strong”? Cannot they be sweet, gentle, kind, loving, passionate, and smart? No person can be just one thing and it is wrong to label all women of color in a certain way.  

When you are repeatedly told that you are strong, there is a tendency to cover-up your vulnerabilities and problems, and never seek help. What happens when you soldier through the problems on your own? Eventually you won’t be able to take it anymore and you will breakdown.  

It is wrong to think of mental health issues as a weakness, and it is equally wrong to ignore the problem by telling people that they are strong enough to deal with this on their own.  

Supporting Mothers With Postpartum Depression 

According to estimates, one in every five women have depression, anxiety issues, or some form of a serious mental health issue during pregnancy or by the first year after giving birth. These are problems that can be prevented and treated if we are able to identify it quickly. And yet, so many women endure these problems on their own and either do not seek help or people around her do not know how to help. 

Today there are multiple programs and institutional support available for pregnant women and for mothers who have just given birth. It is easy to Google these initiatives. In the mean time, what is important for people around the mother to know is that you have to understand the challenges she is facing and be caring and supportive. 

Does Someone You Know Need Help? 

Mental health problems aren’t really visible. So, how can you tell if your friend or family member is suffering? There are telltale signs to look out for and if you pay attention you will know when someone needs help. 

When a person had a hobby or something she loved doing and she suddenly loses interest, there is a reason for that. Another big clue is a loss of productivity at work or at home. Some people go into isolation or there is a general withdrawal from society.  

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For children, mental health problems can manifest through unexpected difficulty in schoolwork for an otherwise brilliant student, changes in eating habits, or unexplained changes in sleep habits. 

The more obvious signs in extreme cases is talk of suicide or addictions like drug abuse. It is important for you to start a conversation whenever you notice these signs. It is not an easy conversation, but experts agree that it is better to start talking rather than wait for the perfect opportunity or come up with the right message. 

Focus on the care and love for the person affected by mental health problem when you speak with her and do not worry too much about what you are going to say. There is no such thing as a perfect conversation when it comes to such things. 

Overcoming The Pain Of Heartbreak 

All of us go through a heartbreak at some point in our life. Some people are better equipped to deal with it than others. This is not a problem for teenage boys and girls. You have probably seen grown men and women break down into tears after a split. 

Think about what happens immediately after a breakup. You think about your ex all the time and recall all the best moments of that relationship. Your brain plays that tape over and over again and it deceives you into thinking that the relationship was the best thing in your life.  

You put your ex on a pedestal and live in the past. Actually, the relationship wasn’t that great. You do not think about the fights you had, the problems you faced, and about a million other things that show why your ex was wrong for you. Thinking about only the good things in the relationship is like a drug addiction, and your brain is giving you your fix every time you think about the past. 

Friends and family are crucial to help someone who has been through a painful breakup. What you need to do is recognize how the relationship was wrong for you. Make a list of all the bad things that happened in the relationship if you have to and constantly remind yourself about them.  

Then, start building new experiences by going out with your friends and family. Force yourself to go out and meet new people. Stop living in the past. 

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